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He Thinks You Can Find Money in Your Trash

Written by Real Simple Advertorial
Published: October 1, 2009

What's Next in Green Living, Brought to You by Intel.

Ron Gonen, co-founder and CEO of Recyclebank, loves the earth and his mom. It was his mom who taught him to appreciate the opportunities he had growing up in Philadelphia and who inspired him to give something back to society. If not for her, he may not have come up with the idea for his company, Recyclebank, which is revolutionizing what it means to be green.

Recyclebank co-founder and CEO Ron Gonen. (PHOTO: GEORGE LANG)
Recyclebank uses innovative technology to make the world a better place. By embedding Intel processors in recycling containers, Recyclebank is able to measure how much you recycle and then reward you accordingly. Here's how it works. Just load all your glass, plastic, metal, and paper in one single cart (how great is that?). Then the recycling truck, which has been retrofitted with an arm that reads the Intel chip, measures and reports the amount of recyclable material. This amount is converted into Recyclebank Points that you can use to shop at upwards of 2,000 local and national reward partners.

Recyclebank's mission is to change how people view consumption. Most consumers think linearly. We buy things, use them up, and throw them out. Needless to say, this does not help the environment. When people start seeing consumption as cyclical–we buy things, use them, then reuse or recycle them–material stays out of landfills. "Today people look at packaging as something that goes in the garbage. We are showing them that there is a lot of value to the package and we are going to allow them to participate in that value," explains Gonen. In other words, Gonen lets you make some green by going green.

Operating in 20 states, Recyclebank is serving more than one million people and is in the process of deploying to over two million more. Plus, the company recently launched service in the United Kingdom. Wish you had your own Recyclebank cart with the cool Intel processor inside? Gonen's team spends a lot of time and effort pitching municipalities, but you can help. "Call your mayor and tell them about us or contact us through our website," says Gonen. "Sometimes governments jump on board and sometimes they wait for social pressure."

Intel is proud to be a part of Recyclebank's success. As Sponsors of Tomorrow, Intel looks to lead by example and minimize its environmental impact. In fact, Intel is the single largest corporate purchaser of green power in the United States, placing it at the top of the EPA's latest Green Power Partners Top 25 list and also at the number one spot on the EPA's Fortune 500 Green Power Partners list.

If you join Intel and conserve energy, you may be rewarded someday–Gonen is exploring reward systems for reducing home energy use. Meanwhile, Recyclebank is delivering its high-tech carts to curbs around the country. Gonen predicts they will be serving 10 million homes in the next few years. One of them may be yours.

Read the full article and watch a video interview 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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