I’ve blogged a couple times about various incentive programs for recycling like the Pepsi Dream Machine. The ideas are plentiful, but unfortunately, nothing has seemed to really have the infrastructure or momentum to catch on in anything I would consider more than a few specific markets. Last week, I read about another recycling incentive program being used by MIT students in a CNN.com blog entry. Like the Pepsi Dream Machine, this program relies on recycling kiosks which allow users to insert recyclables and receive reqards. In this case, the kiosks are created by a company called GreenBean which is focused on developing software that uses analytics, social media and gaming to encourage recycling. It’s this software focus that makes this concept a little different to me. When you use one of the GreenBean kiosks you see immediate, real time data on the energy you have saved and the number of containers you have diverted from the landfill as well as getting your monetary reward either deposited directly to your PayPal account, your student ID (if you’re an MIT student) or credited to a charity of your choice. The kiosk software is also being developed to allow users to compete against each other or as groups and see and share results on social networks. The program is being Beta tested at MIT and has already shown some real traction with campus groups and fraternities and sororities who have really latched on to the competition aspect.
If monetary rewards aren’t enough of an incentive, perhaps capitalizing on our competitive natures will do it. It would be great to see these kiosks start appearing on campuses around the country!