February 21, 2008

Recycling Rewards - Its an IBM built Rails App!

Seth Chisamore from IBM in Atlanta Kiosk Group built a really unique Kiosk application for RecycleBank that lets students at Columbia University recycle at a kiosk, gain points for their contribution and get rewards from places like Chipotle. This takes the RecycleBank Business Model to the next level - Earn rewards by recycling!

RecycleBank Kiosk

Direct report from Columbia TV News...

A new recycling program created by Columbia Business School alum has just been introduced to first-year students. Students earn rewards for going Green, getting points that can be exchanged at local restaurants.

RecycleBank gives Columbia students an economic incentive to be more environmentally friendly with a simple process - “recycle, record, reward.” The program is part of the University’s Go Green Initiative, and it began for first-years in Carman, Furnald, John Jay, and Wallach on Monday. If it’s successful, it will expand to the rest of the campus in the fall.

Nilda Mesa, Columbia's Assistant Vice President of Environmental Stewardship, said, "Wherever RecycleBank’s gone in other cities, their recycling rates have increased dramatically. And that’s the kind of thing we’re looking for here.

We want to see our recycling rates just go through the roof."

Students received a bag for collecting recyclables and a key fob with their account barcode. They weigh their bag at one of the kiosks, scan their barcode, place the items in the proper receptacles, and can immediately see their earnings online.

RecycleBank Process

Barani Guttsma, RecycleBank's Director of Account Management, said, "If you put a bowling ball in, A. you’re going to feel pretty bad about it, B. you’re just going to reach your monthly cap that much faster. And I think after a while, you’ll see that it’s really not worthwhile."

A maximum of 50 points earned per month are mailed to students in the form of gift certificates for local stores, like Chipotle, Amir’s, and Pinkberry.

Mike Wymbs, SEAS 2011, said, "I like getting gift certificates to Chipotle. I’m going to actually do this instead of taking the easy way out and throwing plastic bottles in the trash."

Organizers hope other students will have a similar reaction.

A video report can be found at CTV News Online. You can also read about this in Seth's blog post.

Great work, Seth!

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