Recyclebank’s Plan To Make London Residents More Physically Active

What if your bike ride to work meant you got free stuff at stores? Recyclebank is going beyond just offering rewards for recycling, giving London commuters fresh incentives to walk or ride.


The easiest way to convince people to do most things in life is to offer rewards; recycling is no different. That’s why Recyclebank has reached millions of people with its environmental social platform, which rewards participants for recycling and reducing household energy with points that can be exchanged for deals and discounts at nearby stores. So when Transport for London, the organization that runs all of London’s public and alternative transportation efforts, decided that it wanted to increase ridership in its bikeshare program (just launched in 2010) and get more pedestrians on walkways, it contacted Recyclebank for help.

Recylebank’s solution: an app, of course. “It’s a layer on top of Recyclebank’s program with goals of reducing pollution and boosting overall health and fitness. It’s important for London ahead of the 2012 Olympics,” says Jonathan Hsu, CEO of Recyclebank.

The mobile phone app allows London-based users to log the distance of their journeys and receive points depending on the length. At the end of each journey, Recyclebank reveals the number of points earned as well as health and environmental benefits (number of trees saved, miles saved by staying off the road, carbon emissions). The app can also show users nearby locations where they can redeem their points.

“The points will be redeemable throughout our rewards catalog,” says Hsu. “Recyclebank is all
about providing actual monetary financial rewards, but beyond that
showing people the full context of their actions for the environment.” Rewards currently on Recyclebank’s website include discounts on products at Macy’s, CleanWell, Brookstone, and UncommonGoods. The company has over 3,000 reward partners.

And Recyclebank’s reach is only set to grow–last week, the company announced that it is teaming up with Waste Management to offer its reward program to Waste Management’s 20 million North American customers. Waste Management is also investing an undisclosed sum of money in Recyclebank.

Recyclebank doesn’t have concrete plans at the moment to expand its transportation program beyond London–but that may soon change. There are surely other major cities that would jump at the chance to lure their residents to alternative transportation with a relatively simple monetary incentive.


[Image: Flickr user michaelpickard]

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About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.