RecycleBank - the right incentives?
RecycleBank essentially pays people to recycle. The NYTimes article sums up the process nicely: “Households get credit for the weight of materials they recycle, which is scanned and recorded through a computer chip embedded in the garbage bins when they are picked up by the sanitation crew. They exchange that credit for coupons at various businesses. Municipal officials save disposal fees. Recycling companies make more money from processing. Retailers gain the feel-good association with a socially beneficial activity.”
Within six months, RecycleBank's pilot project in a couple of Philly neighborhoods got 90% of households participating - up from 35% in one neighborhood, up from 7% in another. Imagine all the recycling that will be going on once RecycleBank can manage that success rate on a wider scale!
Not only will more people recycle, but it might just get other companies thinking about ways they can create innovative public/private partnerships to encourage individual/consumer behavior changes, and make the world a better place in the process.