Sustainable Packaging - Recycling Bank: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Dec 28, 2011
Scientist: Minal Mistry

Sustainable Packaging - Recycling Bank

Sustainable Packaging - Recycling Bank
Getting paid for paying it forward: Recycle banks are a new incentive to recycle.


Sustainable Packaging - Recycling Bank

Music, Ambience: Christmas carols

So it's the week after Christmas and you've got a pile of gift packaging to deal with. There is a way that households can get a gift back for curbside recycling. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Minal Mistry is a project manager with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

Mistry: So one of the innovative ways of extracting value from the waste stream is the recycle bank program. That's a private program that goes around in households and assigns radio frequency tagged bins where waste can be sorted and based on the weight of the materials that are going through your household you build up credits with the company. Those credits can then be redeemed at grocery stores or other items that you can purchase or use those credits for. Those kind of schemes, people are really eager to sign up to it because they actually work.
So the radio frequency is a little tag that is put onto the recycle bin, and the frequency is then attached to your home address or your cell phone number or some kind of an identifier for you so that when the recycle bank people come around and take all the materials from your bin, based on the weight, they know that 'x' amount of material went from your house and that's the amount of credit you should be given. So the radio frequency is sort of the I.D for your service through them.
And those credits can then be redeemed based on different partnerships that the company has with grocery chains and food vendors. You can also gift those credits to the local soup kitchen, giving incentive to people to recycle and also giving options for people to redeem their credits in different ways."

For information about recycling programs that give redeemable credits, check out our website, (see list above). That's Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.