It's been a year since we profiled Recyclebank, and a lot has changed since then. Green activism is now officially social as Greenopolis and Recyclebank have merged to create the largest social recycling system to date.
Greenopolis is the social arm of Waste Management, a leading provider of waste and environmental services, which just made a strategic investment in Recyclebank. WM's stake in Recyclebank gives it access to a community-based green rewards program for its nearly 20 million North American customers.
"This investment helps to enhance our existing public sector relationships and signals our commitment to growing our customer base as we see more and more towns and cities making recycling incentive programming a priority," stated David Steiner, president and CEO of Waste Management.
Recyclebank encourages citizens to take green actions by offering discounts from local and national businesses and its latest evolution, Recyclebank Ecosystem, extends that effort to a mass mobilization network that reaches more than 3.6 million consumers monthly and counts 3,000 plus reward partners in the U.S. and the U.K.
"Recyclebank realizes that to make a measurable environmental impact, we need to motivate millions to act in ways that creates a more sustainable future," commented Ali. C. Mirian, Recyclebank Ecosystem GM. "We cannot do this alone, however, so the launch of the Recyclebank Ecosystem dramatically scales our reach by connecting Recyclebank with communities of other like-minded, eco-conscious brands.”
Inaugural partners using the platform to create gree rewards programs include:
• Barnes & Noble for purchasing eco-conscious NOOK eReaders
• MillionTreesNYC for adopting trees in New York City
• Earth911 for signing up for its Instant Expert newsletter
• thredUP for joining their community
• UncommonGoods for buying eco-friendly products.
Macy's, Rent the Runway, Kids Konserve and ChooseUp will be signing up later this year.
Brands see a fit that impacts their bottom line and their corporate ethos. "We launched thredUP to eliminate friction around recycling children's goods, so incentivizing environmental responsibility is at the very core of what we've set out to do," said James Reinhart, CEO of thredUP.
Across the pond, London commuters are being given incentives to walk or ride to work by Transport for London, the organization that runs all of London's public and alternative transportation. To increase bikeshare ridership, they turned to Recylebank who created an app for that, logging distance of a commuter’s journey and offering rewards depending on trip length and where to redeem points.
"It's a layer on top of Recyclebank's program with goals of reducing pollution and boosting overall health and fitness. It's important for London ahead of the 2012 Olympics," noted Jonathan Hsu, CEO of Recyclebank, to Fast Company.
Back in the U.S. the City of Cincinnati marks the one year anniversary of an improved recycling program through Recyclebank, having achieved a 49% increase in recyclable material tonnage in the past six months compared to the same period last year.
"We had a great first year… and [saved] the City nearly one million dollars through decreased landfill disposal costs and increased revenues from the sale of recyclables," said Larry Falkin, director of the Office of Environmental Quality.
Cincinnati’s success was due in part to adoption of larger recycling carts, enabling residents to recycle three-to-five times more than with traditional 18-gallon bins; the enhanced recycling program gave every resident a 64- or 96-gallon cart for biweekly collection.
Recyclebank’s national reward partners include Ziploc, AVEENO, Coca-Cola, Macy's, McDonald's, Nestle Purina, Unilever, Brita and Bumble Bee Foods.
Recyclebank is the best kind of triple threat: creating a culture that rewards people for greener lifestyles, replacing a harmful environmental footprint with a collective conscience, and increasing the chances that a healthy planet will be here for generations to come.