RecycleBank and eBay Use Carrot Instead of Stick to Encourage Recycling


In most cases, we use threats to force people to recycle–witness San Francisco’s controversial new mandatory composting law that slaps a fine on anyone who fails to comply. But what if it was possible to get people to recycle by offering incentives instead? It is–and RecycleBank has been doing it for 18 months by offering residents of participating cities points that can be redeemed at stores–all for recycling regular trash. Up until now, only residents of cities partnered with RecycleBank could join in, but a new partnership with eBay means that anyone can get involved.

As part of the deal, RecycleBank is opening its membership to anyone with a few minutes to sign up. And points can now be earned and redeemed on eBay. “Right now we’re in the initial stages,” explained Amy Szoczlas Cole, the Director of eBay’s Green Team. “Each person could earn 50 RecycleBank points
for simply committing to join the eBay Green Team.” Those points can then be used towards the purchase of, say, a used leather handbag on eBay–or for an item at one of the other 1,500 businesses affiliated with RecycleBank.

The partnership makes sense, since both RecycleBank and eBay specialize in preventing used items from facing the trash bin. Perhaps a partnership with Etsy is next?