Taking out the trash has gotten complicated. Different bins, different pick-up days. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone actually paid you to do this stuff?

For more than a million households in the United States and Great Britain, somebody does.

RecycleBank is an incentive points program that collects recycling curb-side, weighs it, and assigns points that are redeemable for discounts with local merchants.


“It’s a win, win, win,” says Atul Nanda, president of RecycleBank’s Canadian division. “We’re increasing diversion in our cities, increasing economic stimulus for the stores, and providing value-added incentive for people to increase their environmental behavior.”

The program is not available in Canada quite yet, but is now running in 25 American states.

Pilot programs already exist in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston and Atlanta.

“We’ve been in discussions with several cities in Canada,” Nanda says. “At this point, we don’t have a firm date, but we’re going to continue our negotiations. The areas we’ve looked at have been in Ontario, as well as on the west coast.”

Recyclebank got some significant acknowledgement in 2009, when the company was named a United Nations Environment Program Champions of the Earth.

“To date, the material recycled by the households we service has enabled RecycleBank to save cities tens of millions of dollars annually in landfill disposal fees, save over 1.5 million trees, and save millions of gallons of oil,” company founder Ron Gonen said in his UN acceptance speech.

“We have over 2,500 partners,” Nanda notes. “That’s larger than virtually every other loyalty program out there. We have a very robust partner list. We are also expanding our services to be more than just recycling diversion. We have an electronics e-waste program. We’re also partnered in with eBay to help incentify people for reducing.”

Having recently crossed the million-home threshold, RecycleBank is aiming for sustained growth.

“I’d like to think that in three years we’ll be in at least half of Canada, as well as the majority of the states,” Nanda says. “Projections are very difficult to make, but based on our rapid growth so far, I think it’s only going to accelerate, eventually reaching 10 or 20-million households.”

And you don’t even have to separate your glass, paper and plastic. RecycleBank does it all.

“We believe we have a product where — really —the sky is the limit.”

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