We are all familiar with the old adage "one mans trash another mans treasure." RecycleBank is trying to change that. They say your trash is your own treasure, 'cause we're going to pay you for it. The concept, called Incentive Based Recycling, is to increase recycling rates by providing a direct financial incentive for people to go through the trouble of sorting their garbage. Participating customers receive a 35, 64, or 96 gallon RecycleBank container which has a barcode that identifies their home. As the truck collects the recycling it scans the barcode on the container and translates the value of the recycled items into a dollar amount - up to $35 Recyclebank Dollars a month - that can be redeemed though shopping coupons at participating businesses. Participants use an online interface to choose which coupons suit them best, order the coupons and receive them by mail. Alternatively participants can choose to donate their Recyclebank Dollars to charity. Operating in Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey RecycleBank serves both residential and retail customers. Revenues are generated by helping cities avoid landfill disposal fees. Many paper, plastic, metal and glass recyclables are collected and the company supports a single stream recycling system that allows all types of recyclables to be deposited in one single container. Home collection of e-waste is coming soon but in the meantime customers can send in cell phones for recycling by printing a envelope label including stamp directly from the website.
The homepage features a running tally of the number of trees and the number of gallons of oil saved collectively through the recycling program (51,161 and 3,417,576 respectively at time of publication). For those who want to dig deeper into these numbers a complete suite of reports that includes detailed performance analysis of recycling rates, participation rates, and collection efficiency at the household, street, route, neighborhood and municipal level are available. Various publications and presentations by the company's Director of Research, Scott Kaufman can be found here. :: RecycleBank