Marketing RFID-Enabled Recycling


Yes, I know, I’ve been a very bad blogger lately… you have my sincere apologies. Thanks for sticking with me.

Today’s item is a story I somehow missed when it got some attention last month, but serves as a perfect addendum to my last post.

Via EcoGeek (and Sustainablog and Forbes) comes the story of RecycleBank in Philadelphia, a company which rewards consumer recycling by translating household efforts into monetary awards redeemable at participating businesses. Participants can earn up to $35 (~27 euros) per month.

More detailed article at BioCycle. Interestingly, the press accounts (BioCycle, Forbes) mention RFID tagging on the 35, 64, or 96 gallon (~132, 242 or 363 liter) wheeled waste bins that accommodate commingled materials. Reportedly, this is how households are identified for their rewards. Makes sense.

However, the RecycleBank website doesn’t allude to its use of RFID:

Your RecycleBank container has a barcode that ensures your home is rewarded when you recycle. The recycling truck has a technology that identifies the barcode on your RecycleBank container.

I presume the press is correct in characterizing the system as RFID-enabled. Is this not advertised by RecycleBank due to fears that privacy concerns could prevent adoption by potential customers? (As an aside, their privacy policy seems good.)

In any case, I think this serving as a catalyst for rewarding relationships between businesses and individual recyclers is a great idea. I’ll leave you with my favorite piece of their capabilities:

RecycleBank provides a complete suite of reports that includes detailed performance analysis of recycling rates, participation rates, and collection efficiency at the household, street, route, neighborhood and municipal level.

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