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Are you ready for more R’s?

Written by Bill Brohaugh, Colloquy
Published: September 21, 2010

Our 2010 COLLOQUY Loyalty Summit Highlights: RecycleBank

In my previous post, I talked about the presentation of Rewards, Recognition and Relevancy as the three Rs in the opening presentation of COLLOQUY’s 8th Annual Loyalty Summit. Now, here’s another set of Rs, quite related to the points that Bryan Pearson was making regarding social relevance in loyalty programs. This set is Recycle, Record, Reward, coming from Morley Ivers of RecycleBank in his Summit presentation “Points for Purpose—How RecycleBank Is Reclaiming Customer Loyalty Through Cause, the Government and Doing Good.”

RecycleBank is an innovative national program that works with governments to reward the public for recycling. Participants put their recyclables in special RFID-equpped bins, which weigh the goods—based on the weight of what’s recycled, participants get reward points redeemable for a number of goods. There are lots of fascinating details related to the program, so I encourage you to read more about it here—but an eye-opening stat is that RecycleBank has doubled and even quadrupled recycling rates in some cities.

The success of RecycleBank demonstrates a number of key points for marketers. For example, there’s the core power of authentic cause marketing to get customers to rally around you. In addition to “doing well for doing good,” Ivers noted some additional benefits to integrating social concerns into loyalty-marketing efforts. “When you drive loyalty for a cause, others do the talking for you.” He noted that “RecycleBank averages one to two national and ten to twenty local press mentions each week.”

That’s great word of mouth, of course—attracting attention and attracting participants. But more important, facilitating “doing well for doing good” builds strong customer relationships. This is in part because of the intense relevance involved. Yes, there’s a hard benefit in being able to exchange points for goods (RecycleBank has more than 3,000 reward partners who are the true recipients of participants’ loyalty—and the weekly nature of “garbage day” reinforces regular earn cycles). But being involved in socially conscious activities demonstrates the qualities that consumers respect and trust, and delivers the soft benefit of making customers gain status among peers while feeling better about themselves and their efforts to do good.

Another point that caught my eye is RecycleBank’s target marketing, concentrating on mainstream moms, who find relevance in making the world better for their kids, who seeks value and finds it in achieving practical rewards, who is a strong participant in the community and another word-of-mouth propagator. Another great lesson in matching customer and value propositions.

As a final note for the moment, loyalty practitioners voted RecycleBank in as the winner of the first annual COLLOQUY Award for Innovation in Loyalty.

You can also view the story here.

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Recyclebank At A Glance

New York

New York, Philadelphia and Houston

Javier Flaim


The Coca-Cola Company, Craton Equity Partners, Generation Investment Management, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Paul Capital Investments, Physic Ventures, RRE Ventures LLC, Sigma Partners, Waste Management Inc., and Westly Group

4 Million+

300+ in all 50 states

Reward Partners

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