RecycleBank: Good Business, Green Motivation

RecycleBank, founded by Ron Gonen is setting the standard for doing good while profiting at green business. In fact their catchy slogan on the navy blue recycle containers aptly states, “preserving our environment one home at a time.” In this case, the statement is certainly true. The idea is so simple and yet so solid that Gonen said that his first meeting with a potential customer was not a hard sell.
One might assume that RecycleBank is just another recycling program but the catch and heart of the company is consumer rewards. This is how it works: RecycleBank provides homes with large recycling receptacles not unlike your standard garbage can on wheels. Each container is equipped with a radio frequency identification chip that can be read by the trucks picking them up. Information can be communicated from these chips about how much each house has recycled. This information is used by RecycleBank to convert these statistics into reward points for the homeowner. These points can then be redeemed at hundreds of stores, including Whole Foods and Starbucks to name a couple. Customers can even track their reward points and environmental footprint through the website at
Gonen, aformer consultant wanted to prove that being socially responsible could be a profitable endeavor. And so it is that Gonen launched his company in 2004 on the belief that giving people the motivation to recycle along with the proper tools would change their wasteful behavior. It turns out he was right on that notion. His customers’ recycling has saved more than 227,000 trees and 15 million gallons of oil and has diverted more than 19,500 tons of material from the waste stream and redeemed more than 3 million reward points. The company is preparing to expand across the nation this year thanks to the bright idea and success of this smart and eco-friendly company.