Think Sustainability is All Work No Play? One Startup Proves Otherwise

While we are all well aware that sustainability is no joke, the people behind New York City startup Recyclebank have been working hard to show that being green can, in fact, be a game.

As a business student at Columbia University, Recyclebank founder Ron Gonen wondered whether or not you could motivate people to recycle by rewarding them for doing so, and the company was born.

The idea behind Recyclebank is simple: rather than make recycling a chore by guilting people into doing it, Recyclebank promotes sustainability as a game by rewarding participants for their green efforts. In exchange for completing certain actions, participants receive points which are then redeemable for goods and services through numerous partner brands, businesses, and websites, including Coca-Cola, Kashi, Martha Steward Living, Olive Garden, and Kmart among others.

Initially aimed at getting people to recycle, and rewarding them for the amount they recycle, Recyclebank has in recent years expanded its focus to encourage people to live more eco-friendly lifestyles by reducing their consumption of energy, water, and other resources, as well as prompting them to shop with the environment in mind.

In addition to promoting sustainability and environmental protection as facets of every-day life, Recyclebank helps partner cities across the U.S. save money by reducing their landfill disposal costs, which in turn help to support and promote Recyclebank’s programs.

So far, Recyclebank has seen great success, gaining both partners and participants while building its programs. Recently Recyclebank was featured on social media news site Mashable, ranked #37 on FastCompany’s list of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies,” and has formed a deal with waste disposal giants Waste Management, providing more than 20 million North American customers with access to Recyclebank’s initiatives and incentives.

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