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RecycleBank’s Ron Gonen Named 2009 United Nations Environment Programme Champion of the Earth

Written by RecycleBank
Published: April 22, 2009

New York (April 22, 2009) – Ron Gonen, co-founder and CEO of Recyclebank, is the recipient of the 2009 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Champion of the Earth award in the Entrepreneurial Vision category. Gonen is one of only seven honorees to earn the prestigious distinction this year and will be recognized at a special international ceremony held in conjunction with the Business for the Environment Summit (B4E) in Paris today, Earth Day.

Champions of the Earth is an international environmental award established in 2004 by the UNEP to acknowledge the best and brightest who have made a significant contribution globally, regionally and beyond, to the protection and sustainable management of the Earth’s environment and natural resources. This year’s award recognizes prominent and inspirational examples of environmental leadership in the areas of Policy Leadership, Science and Innovation, Entrepreneurial Vision, Inspiration and Action, and Next-Generation Champions. Past award winners hail from a diverse background, from presidents and economists, to scientists and philosophers, to religious and civic leaders. Candidates are judged by a senior UNEP panel with input from UNEP’s regional offices. No monetary reward is attached to the prize; each laureate receives a trophy specially designed for the occasion with environmentally-friendly materials.

Gonen was chosen for his environmental leadership as co-founder of Recyclebank, a loyalty and rewards program that rewards households for the amount they recycle. Recyclebank recycling carts are outfitted with RFID tags and Recyclebank uses a proprietary technology to record and translate the amount each home recycles into Recyclebank Points that can be used to shop at over 1,400 local and national businesses. Members can track their Points and their personal environmental footprint online at Recyclebank Points can be redeemed for groceries, gift cards and much more at over 1,400 brand name national and local retailers across the country.

“At Recyclebank, we focus on providing every home in every neighborhood the opportunity to be rewarded for recycling and for doing their part to protect our environment. Being recognized by the United Nations Environment Programme as a ‘2009 Champion of the Earth’ demonstrates that an idea conceived in an apartment, when adopted by a great team of people, can be turned into a global movement,” said Gonen.

Currently, Recyclebank services communities in 18 states and is expanding its operation to the United Kingdom, where it’s proud to partner with Veolia Environmental Services (VES) to bring a valuable rewards scheme to the residents of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. Recyclebank also has new deployments scheduled for the summer of 2009 in a number of U.S. cities, including Chicago, Ill. and Mesa, Ariz. To date, Recyclebank households have diverted thousands of tons of recyclables from landfills, saving over 98 million gallons of oil and more than one million trees.

Past Champions of the Earth winners include Ms. Massoudeh Ebtekar, the former vice president of Iran; H.E. Mikhail Gorbachev of the Russian Federation; H.R.H. Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan; His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco; and Al Gore, the former vice president of the United States. For more information about UNEP Champions of the Earth, visit

About Recyclebank

Recyclebank is a rewards program that motivates people to recycle. We do this by quickly and easily measuring the amount of material each home recycles and then converting that activity into Recyclebank Points that can be used at hundreds of local and national rewards partners. Recyclebank is simple to implement, market-driven, and proven to work; saving municipalities’ money and rewarding citizens for their environmental stewardship. Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers, RRE Ventures, The Westly Group and Sigma Partners are institutional shareholders. Ron Gonen, the co-founder and CEO, is the largest individual shareholder. Recyclebank is headquartered in New York City. Recyclebank was recently honored as a 2009 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and has been named as a 2009 Champion of the Earth by the United Nations. Recyclebank is featured as a company that “makes recycling easy, understandable and rewarding” in Josh Dorfman’s new book The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget. Visit for more information.

About UNEP Champions of the Earth
The United Nations Environment Programme established the annual international environment award in 2004. The Champions of the Earth award recognizes individuals and organizations that have exemplified inspiration, vision, innovation, leadership and action for the environment. The Champions of the Earth winners are invited to accept their award at an international ceremony, which publicizes and encourages the worldwide replication of their achievements. For more information, visit

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