Company Review- RecycleBank

Making green with green rewards programs

Technology trends and news by Aylon Steinhart
October 29, 2008
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Burning fossil fuels is totally not the “in” thing to do any more. The environmentally friendly trend is quickly turning everything green: light bulbs are green, energy bars are green, cars are green, and even big oil is managing to somehow appear as green.

The green movement has led to corporate and individual behaviors that help protect our environment and develop more awareness of environmental issues. RecycleBank is definitely doing its part; with 495,262 trees saved and 33,083,565 gallons of oil saved (according to their website), RecycleBank is an environmentally progressive business that intends to make green by being green. 

RecycleBank motivates participants to recycle more with a rewards program.

RecycleBank contracts with cities in order to work within the established trash collection structure.   The recycling habits of participants are followed through the use of the RecycleBank technology. RecycleBank outfits the garbage trucks with an RFID scanner. That allows for automated scanning and recording of the weight of the RecycleBank recycling bin. 

The RecycleBank system converts weight into reward points and transfers that amount directly to the participant’s individual account. With these reward points, participants can claim discount coupons, gift cards, and even vacations from around 150 local and national businesses.

With increasing prices and decreasing availability of land, piling of waste onto landfills is becoming more and more expensive for local governments. By working directly with cities and municipalities, RecycleBank is decreasing the amount of waste going into landfills by motivating individuals to thoughtfully recycle what was previously thrown away. The local governments not only appreciate this, but they pay for it too. That is one way that RecycleBank is able to stay profitable while rewarding participants for recycling, because the more that is recycled, the more cities pay.

The second RecycleBank revenue stream comes from the local and national businesses involved with the rewards program. By providing sponsors with useful basic information about participants, RecycleBank gains revenue from the same companies that reward the participants. This relationship is a big win-win: advertisers have access to a large and involved audience, and RecycleBank receives revenue and promotes recycling. 

Although the RecycleBank program is not yet nationwide, it seems to have both the infrastructure and practicality that is needed to expand to a national scale. By grouping financial success with social responsibility, RecycleBank shows that profit seeking can be valuable and socially beneficial. Hopefully, the efforts of companies such as RecycleBank and the growth of the green movement will motivate individuals to continue considering the environment in their every-day choices. 

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