As much as many of us hate to admit, money is important to us and it helps motivate us to do things that we would otherwise not normally do. A garbage-man, for example, very likely didn't pick his career out of the desire to keep the streets clean. He needed a job to make money. What does money do? Money helps us pay our bills. It helps keep roofs over our heads and food on our tables. It gives us luxuries we would not normally have without it and, in a materialistic way, money really does make us happier people. So why not pay money to motivate us to recycle more?
Do you doubt a system like this would ever work? Entrepreneurs Patrick FitzGerald and Ron Gonen were not doubtful when they launched RecycleBank in 2004. The program began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has successfully expanded to Gloucester County, New Jersey as of March 2006 and Wilmington, Delaware as of June 2006. But they don't plan to stop there. They have plans to expand even farther. So, don't be surprised if you see RecycleBank in your neighborhood one day.
What exactly is RecycleBank? It works like this: households can earn RecycleBank money that can be used at more than 100 participating local and national businesses, including: Starbucks, ACME, Target, Petco, Bed Bath & Beyond and smaller business in your community. Your RecycleBank container has a barcode that ensures your home is rewarded each time you recycle.
To start, all you need to do is sign up at their website. Then they will send you the information. You put your stuff in the recycle bin. They pick it up. You get paid. The more you recycle, the more you earn. You can earn up to 25 RecycleBank Dollars a month (plus extra bonuses) for recycling. It is that simple. If you need to check your balance log on to your account and there it is.
If you already recycle and don't really care about the money, think of it this way, you can now use that money to go even greener than before. How? Many of these participating businesses are also eco conscious. In fact, in Philadelphia, participants can use their credit to purchase green power from local energy companies. Doesn't it seem like the more RecycleBank grows the bigger the possibilities? See Green Website Here
Envirofone and Terrapass
If RecycleBank isn't in your neighborhood yet, there are still other ways to make cash while you recycle. There are several programs available throughout the world. In essence all these program are basically the same with the exception of a few small differences. It is up to you to choose which program you like best or in some cases, you may choose to participate in the program that is closest to where you live.
What types of incentives are there? For the most part, the programs I've listed provide some if not most of these incentives: cash, credit, gift cards or a receipt for tax deduction.
For example, you can get paid to have your old cell phones recycled. The main purpose of course is to prevent old phone from adding to landfills and to provide phones to areas around the world that need them. If these phones cannot be reused for some reason they are recycled or stripped for parts.
The two best cell phone recycling programs I have found are: Terrapass which is partnered up with RipMobil and is located in the US and Envirofone.com which currently only exists in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands
With Envirofone.com all you need to do is log on to the Envirofone website, browse their list of needed cell phone, and see if your phone qualifies. If it does, check out how much cash or Argo credit you can get for it. If you are satisfied with the price, simply put it in a package and send it to "FREEPOST ENVIROFONE" or put it in the pre-paid envelope that is supplied to you. Envirofone also welcomes phone accessories and manuals. Once you have registered or sent in your first phone Envirofone sends you a welcome pack which includes an ecard to be used at Argo, if you choose to use it. See Green Website Here.
Terrapass wants your old cell phones, PDA's and accessories (if you have them). In return Terrapass pays you with gift certificates which you can use to buy all sorts of green products. They also pay you a dollar more for every accessory. There is even a referral program that pays you every time you refer someone to the program. Terrapass makes it easy to get green for green as long as what the products your send in pass the inspection. See Green Website Here.
Cash4Cartridges and C-REP
Getting cash incentives for recycling ink cartridges is just as easy as all the rest of the recycling programs. You won't make a 6 figure income, but if you can make a little extra cash while helping clean up the environment, that's pretty cool.
In some cases you can use ink cartridges as a fundraising program for your school, church, charities business or other organization. Cash4Cartidges and C-REP (Cartridge Recycling for Environmental Protection) can be customized to help participants do just this.
How does it work? First, log on to your preferred website, in this case mine would be Cash4Cartridges, but C - R E P is another good one. Then, fill out the online registration form; select the type of organization you are raising cash for. Cash4Cartidges does allow you to select Individual, if you choose to, whereas C-REP does not. Then click on submit. That's it. To see what type of cartridges are needed click on the Qualifying Cartridges tab.
The shipping is free. The participation is free. The only cost is a little bit of time to mail off the package and then wait for the incentive. See Green Website Here.
Donate your Vehicle
Did you know you can donate your old vehicle too and receive a tax deduction? You don't get paid directly, but it does help come tax time and you don't have to go through the trouble and expense of fixing and selling your vehicle. You get a tax break, landfills have less junk, and the net proceeds of your donated car/truck/SUV/boat will help people in need so it's a win win situation.
How does it work? It's simple. You call or go online and provide information about the car you are donating with some of your contact information. A towing company then calls you on behalf of the program and a time and place is set to pick up the vehicle. The tow truck arrives, loads up the vehicle, you hand them the keys, the title, and sign your name in consent. They give you a receipt and that's it.
From there the car is recycled or repaired, sold and the proceeds from the sale, feed, cloth and help, in many other ways, people in need. All it took was a few minutes on the line or on the phone. They do all the rest. I've personally used and like Volunteers of America, but Purple Heart -which helps military families, is another of many available options. See Green Websites Here and Here.
Is Green for Green Greed?
If you see this as just one more way to emphasize the greed in our culture- a bribe to get people to be more environmentally friendly, perhaps you're right, but the way I see it, it's a start and a start is better than nothing. In fact, I believe, if there were more programs like this around the world, all those excuses about recycling taking too much time, or being to inconvenient would quickly disappear along with the pollution. As a result, everyone- greedy or not- would enjoy recycling a whole lot more.
If you know of other recycling programs that pay, feel free to let me know or leave it in the comment sections.