Do you have a cell phone in your closet waiting to be recycled? Then Ron Gonen of RecycleBank has an offer for you. At the Greener Gadgets conference in New York, co-founder and CEO Gonen described RecycleBank, the business he created to give incentives to recycling consumers. RecycleBank partners with local municipalities so that the act of recycling is both convenient and rewarding. How does it work? Every household is given a recycling container embedded with a chip that is read by a mechanical arm fitted to the city’s recycling truck. Recycle Bank then tracks which households recycle, and by how much, giving points to be redeemed for groceries and gifts.
Municipalities often have a hard time understanding the incentive structure, wondering why they should they pay for a consumer to do the right thing. Instead, most focus on punishing bad behavior through fines, rather than rewarding good behavior through incentives. RecycleBank’s model proves to be more effective, ensuring high rates of participation and more successful recycling programs. If RecycleBank continues to do well, they will be solving what is considered to be a major problem in the electronics industry: the huge amount of e-waste that is generated from last year’s cell phones, PCs, and other discarded gadgets. As RecycleBank continues to expand their offering throughout the U.S., look for a recycling incentive program in your hometown.