Posted by: shoji | April 16, 2008

Getting Green for Going Green – TIME

The econ of eco: pay people to recycle. (See blurb on RecycleBank, below).

It’s a fine idea, and many of us can be driven by $. I remember how successful the bottle and can deposits were in New York State when they were first implemented.

Money aside, another powerful motivator is just being able to quantify the behavioral change, and tracking the amount provides direct feedback.

I recall reading about a pilot test of internet tracking tools for monitoring electricity usage. The subjects who were provided the system greatly reduced their electrical usage– and some users became quite fanatical about turning off unnecessary lights, switching to CFLs, etc.

Yet another example is the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive. The constant feedback to the driver about electrical engine vs. gasoline engine can cure lead foot.

What other feedback loops can we implement?

Getting Green for Going Green – TIME
Ron Gonen, though, is going to make recycling worth your while. The former management consultant co-founded RecycleBank in 2004 with a simple idea: that people want to recycle, but they just need a little push. So Gonen decided to appeal to their pocketbooks. Heres how it works: every family on a garbage route is issued a special container with a computer chip. When garbage trucks pick up the recycling, they weigh the container and record how much each family is recycling by weight. The more you recycle, the more RecycleBank points you earn, which can be redeemed for offers at merchants like CVS/pharmacy. Its that easy. Since RecycleBank launched in Philadelphia in 2006, its formula has led to unqualified success everywhere it has gone — and it now operates through much of the Northeast U.S. Recycling rates in one of the first Philadelphia neighborhoods that RecycleBank served rose from 7% to 90% in a matter of months and total waste sent to landfills is down considerably.


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