Redefining our Trash (Industry)
Newsweek recently published a pretty cool article titled “Saving the World for a Latte”
The article tracks the story of RecycleBank, a 4 year-old green-tech startup out of New York that runs a recycling business. Unlike traditional recyclers, RecycleBank is marked by all the exciting elements of tech upstarts and market creativity - ”high-tech, RFID, frequent flier program, instant transmission to web, coupon redemption, new york, venture capitalists, silicon valley, creative fee generation (from advertisers)”. In essence, the company “doesn’t run the trucks”, instead “They are a marketing tool”.
I must say also that I love the redemption and frequent flier idea (much like credit cards and airlines) and am tickled by the ways that customers try to cheat (they must have a lot of unwanted bowling balls)!!
Below is an interesting excerpt from the article:
…. as a white truck rumbles through this working-class suburb of Boston, there’s something overshadowing the roadside cans: huge 96-gallon maroon recycling containers. At each stop, workers wheel the bins onto hydraulic lifts on the back of the truck. They pull a lever and a clanging mix of beer bottles, soup cans, milk jugs and newspapers spills into the truck. Before swallowing up that waste, the high-tech system scans radio-frequency ID tags embedded in the containers and weighs how much each household recycled that week. That data is instantly transmitted to a Web site, where it’s converted into points that homeowners can redeem for discounts at stores like CVS or on national brands like Coke. Basically, it’s like a frequent-flier program for recyclers.