Cash in trash: RecycleBank gets hefty funding

Recycling isn't normally considered a big money-maker, but a Philadelphia start-up gives customers points to encourage them to recycle--and its business model is catching on.

RecycleBank on Tuesday said that it has raised $30 million to increase its operations in the U.S. and expand into Europe.

The series B round came from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, RRE Ventures, Sigma Partners, and The Westly Group.

The company has developed a novel business model to incentivize consumers to recycle more.

It gives households points based on the total weight of what they recycle rather than throw away. Those points can be redeemed to purchase more consumer goods, like food and coffee.

So far, RecycleBank has gotten 40 municipalities in the northeastern United States to sign on, resulting in the diversion of 36 million tons of waste that would have gone to landfills or incinerated.

"I truly believe that while most people are focusing on biofuels and solar, recycling is on the cutting edge of clean technology--and RecycleBank is the future of recycling," Steve Westly, managing partner of The Westly Group, said in a statement.

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About the author

Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.

 

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