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Environmental Protection & Preservation

RecycleBank Uses Leading-Edge Technology to Make Recycling Easy

RecycleBank, a rewards program that motivates people to recycle, is using innovative, breakthrough technology solutions to make recycling easy for consumers, fast for waste haulers and fiscally responsible for municipalities.

RecycleBank provides communities with a cost-effective and environmentally conscious solution to the rising cost of waste collection. RecycleBank offers a single-stream recycling program, which means all recyclables (cardboard, paper, aluminum, tin, glass and plastic) can be placed in one container, as opposed to other methods which require recyclables to be separated.

When combined with a rewards program like RecycleBank, which incents people to recycle by giving them RecycleBank reward dollars for every pound of material they recycle, single-stream recycling is proven to boost participation in community-based programs.

"RecycleBank is currently deployed in nearly 50,000 homes in the United States, and its high-technology back-end is already processing 200,000 transactions every month," said Scott Lamb, senior vice president of RecycleBank. "If each of those households recycles on a weekly basis, more than 64 million pounds of recyclables would be diverted from landfills annually. That could save municipalities thousands, even millions of dollars in waste-disposal fees."

RecycleBank is able to motivate households and communities to recycle by providing them with the tools to quickly and easily measure the amount of material each home recycles. The amount of material recycled is then converted into RecycleBank reward dollars that can be used at hundreds of local and national reward partners.

Each RecycleBank household is equipped with a bin that contains an embedded radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tag. Municipalities' and independent waste haulers' recycling trucks are equipped with an RFID antenna and reader. The bins are scanned by the RFID reader when they are lifted and tipped into recycling trucks, and the weight of recyclables in the bin is automatically recorded in a device in the truck's cab.

Once the recycling pick-up route is complete, trucks return to recycling facilities, and the data from the device is transferred through a wireless scanner to the RecycleBank system, which then assigns reward dollars to specific households based on the weight of their recyclables.

The transfer of data is delivered wirelessly from the trucks to RecycleBank servers, and it does not require workers to access or move information. Plus, it gives the information quickly to recyclers eager to begin spending their RecycleBank rewards dollars. Additionally, haulers are able to utilize the collected data to gain operational efficiencies.

"Many municipalities already use an automatic cart lifting system to collect recyclables from households, so this is an easy way for haulers and communities to offer recycling with minimal added costs," said Ron Gonen, CEO of RecycleBank. "Once the equipment is in place, recycling becomes a value-added service that does not place any additional burdens on the waste collectors."

Because of RecycleBank's extensive relationships in both the hauling and technology industry, it has been able to implement an advanced weighing system that is able to calculate the total weight of recyclables by measuring the weight of both the full and empty bin. This particular system is extremely convenient for waste haulers because it doesn't require any more time than a typical automatic cart lifting system.

Currently, RecycleBank has more than 300 local and national rewards partners dedicated to its mission to encourage communities and households to recycle in exchange for RecycleBank dollars. National rewards partners include Coke, Patagonia, IKEA, Whole Foods, Timberland and many others that allow households to redeem their RecycleBank reward dollars.

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