03. 14. 2007
Cash incentives for recycling
Yesterday I made mention of companies using trash to build new ecofriendly products, and today I see Springwise covering incentive recycling in Philadelphia and Wilmington. This is a beautiful case of competition in the recycling market. Trash has value, and companies like Recycle Bank are willing to share the profits made from recycling to ensure a steady supply of materials.
Recycle Bank has launched a two pronged attack on recycling participation. The company saves cities money by recycling waste that would otherwise land in expensive landfills, and pays customers by the pound for the recyclables they drag to the curb. A bar code on each recycling bin tracks household contributions as trucks make the weekly collection rounds. Each household can earn up to thirty-five dollars a month on account, and can exchange the credits for discounts from local businesses or national chains. The list of participanting companies is fairly large and includes Starbucks, Timberland, HP, iRobot and Staples so there's a little something for everyone. Participants may also donate earned credits to charities to help address issues impacting the local community.
The service has a fairly liberal policy on what they accept, and this is convenient single container recycling. The whole system seems nice and easy, and is something I would participate in if available in St Louis. The company plans to expand into curbside e-Waste pickup to alleviate the environmental problems from improper disposal. We still see many companies "donating" their electronics overseas to be trashed in nations without pollution control laws, and cash incentives could alleviate a lot of that problem.
The website has a great cartoon detailing the entire process that I recommend watching if you like cute dancing pigs.