What Is the Recycle Bank and How to Make the Most of Their Services

NYC-based Recycle Bank is a company that aims to promote recycling and environmentally-friendly habits in the communities around the U.S. It encourages people, businesses, and communities to participate in recycling and learn how to live more sustainable lifestyles.

So far, more than 4 million people have become members of Recyclebank’s rewards program. Among other goods and services we will cover below, the company offers magazine subscriptions and various discounts. On RecycleBank’s online shop, users can access the company’s sustainability expertise, as well as sign up for the rewards program to adopt a greener lifestyle.

“RecycleBank inspires and rewards smarter, everyday choices for a more sustainable future. We know that it takes a group effort to make a positive impact, which is why we bring together communities, businesses and people like you.”

What Is the Recycle Bank?

Philadelphia natives Patrick Fitzgerald and Ron Gonen – also former high school classmates – are the ones who dreamed the vision for Recycle Bank. Their purpose is to encourage U.S. residents to become environmentally aware, do good things for the planet, and get rewarded in exchange.

If you sign up as a member of the RecycleBank, the company pledges to reward you every time you take a step in the right direction. Launched in 2003 with a complete business plan, the company rolled out the first innovative recycling rewards pilots early next year in Philadelphia.

Since 2004, Recycle Banks has helped boost recycling rates in “more than 300 communities, grown to over 4 million members and helped launch new programs in communities all across America.”

Recycling Leaders

The founders established a clear goal for Recycle Bank: To encourage people to make smarter choices for a more sustainable lifestyle. Scientists dream of one big green impact on our planet. However, we can achieve it through individual actions, like learning about greener methods to buy, use or dispose of products.

“We believe in the carrot, not the stick. We’ve learned that a mix of economic and social nudges, when packaged with education, deepens people’s participation and creates habitual behavior change.”

Inspiring Generational Change

Since 2007, the Recycle Bank has awarded almost $500,000 to more than 150 schools through the Green Schools Program. The funding is aimed to creatively improve the schools with various green projects. With the help of One Twine, the company’s online shop, Recycle Bank will donate 5 percent of profits to the Green Schools Program – which will amount to about $50,000 a year.

Are you wondering how the Green Schools Program works? Teachers can submit their project proposals, as well as the budgets they need, and Recycle Bank brainstorms before the start of each school year. The donation period takes place from the beginning of January through March.

How Recycle Bank Works

When it comes to RecycleBank, there are three levels of involvement, each with its own rewards. Let’s see what Recycle Bank does for each of these categories, the individual, community, and brand level.

For Members

To help people lead more sustainable lifestyles, Recycle Bank employs a mix of education and rewards. The company’s recycling incentives program and overall online engagement has led to a significant increase in nationwide recycling rates.

Recycle Bank has partnered to recycle almost 3.8 billion pounds of waste, as well as educate people for a more sustainable future. The online reward program encourages users to earn points by learning about living green and pledging to follow healthier practices. At the same time, points can be exchanged for rewards.

For Communities

As Recyclebank also partners with municipalities in cities around the country, some communities can earn points for recycling at home. If local waste haulers are on board, they can track home recycling and then reward it. Two programs help community members to earn points this way: The Collect and Click program and the Curbside program.

For the Collect and Click subscribed members, Recycle Bank automatically awards points based on the average weight recycled by all households on each collection route. Being a member can also bring you 10 additional points for recycling on a weekly basis.

Subscribed members of the Curbside program set out their recycling container. They are awarded points through GPS technology installed on both the recycling containers and in the recycling truck. This way, Recyclebank can track which households are actually recycling. Then, the residents in the community that recycled get their share of Recycle Bank points.

For Brands

Thanks to the advertising and sponsorship platform created by RecycleBank, the company also reaches highly engaged consumers. Brands that adopt green practices can get sponsor content on Recycle Bank. Ziploc, Domtar, and Johnson & Johnson, for example, have all partnered with Recycle Bank to teach enthusiastic green users about recycling methods for the products they sell.

After members earn points, they can convert them in discounts and deals from community businesses. At the same time, some major national brands (including SC Johnson, Macy’s, and Unilever), have also jumped on board. Thanks to Recycle Bank, hundreds of community brands and businesses can influence people and engage them through online and offline touch sites. You can find a complete list in the Rewards Catalog section.

Recycle Bank App

We live in the era of technology, so why not use it to remind you of your recycling days? On both iOS and Android apps, the Recycle Bank offers various useful features. Some of them include pickup date reminders, recycling answers on demand, as well as the entire rewards catalog.

  • With Recycle Bank mobile, you can set reminders for collection day, and also mark your calendar for special collection events, such as bulk or yard waste days.
  • The app keeps you informed on the how to recycle in your city. It also sends you details about what can works with specialty recyclers.
  • Convert points into great discount deals for nearby stores or businesses. Find them by scrolling through the entire rewards catalog via the Recycle Bank app.

All in all, becoming a member of the RecycleBank community can only bring you benefits. Based on the idea of “gaming for good,” the company uses successful game mechanics for environmental good. The rewards system encourages members to recycle and lead more sustainable lifestyles.