New York-based RecycleBank tracks how much you recycle, and awards points that you can redeem for rewards such as groceries. The result: RecycleBank has more than doubled recycling rates in every community that has deployed its program.
According to RecycleBank Co-Founder and CEO, Ron Gonen, "Our goal at RecycleBank is to progress societies' view of the product lifecycle from linear to cyclical. Since the discarding of product in a linear lifecycle destroys value, then the reuse and recycling of that product should create value. I believe that in order for a cyclical product lifecycle to be created and remain sustainable, value must be passed back to the entity, households, who are responsible for providing each product a cyclical lifecycle."
As part of its contract with cities, RecycleBank gives every home a special container with a chip embedded in it. When a recycling truck picks up the container, the weight is electronically recorded and translates into RecycleBank points (1 lb of recycled materials = 2.5 RecycleBank Points). Participants can use the points at retailers such as Target.com and Whole Foods.
When cities and universities asked for a solution to help increase recycling among campuses and apartments (where a household-based curbside program wasn't possible), RecycleBank developed and now offers Kiosk recycling.
In Wilmington, Delaware, for example, RecycleBank has diverted 33 percent of the city's waste into recycling, saving it $1.5 million a year. RecycleBank gets a portion of the city's savings, and citizens get paid to recycle.