Ron Gonen says his first meeting with a potential customer wasn't a hard sell. He's the founder and CEO of RecycleBank, a rewards company that motivates people to recycle.
The day before he pitched to the city of Philadelphia, the local paper coincidentally ran a front-page story exposing the gross amount of money being wasted as a result of the city not having a comprehensive recycling program. "We told them we'd increase the recycling rate," says Gonen. Within three months, a pilot program was up and running.
This is how it works: RecycleBank provides homes with large carts in which to throw all recyclables. Each container has a radio frequency identification chip, which is read by the trucks picking them up. Information on how much each house has recycled is sent back to RecycleBank and converted into reward points. Those points can then be redeemed at hundreds of stores, including Starbucks and Whole Foods.