Recycling is often incredibly simple but how about dreaming up a model that makes business sense? Often neglected, the true value of recycling is key to your business approach. Take this logic for instance; “Company X” reduces its costs of deposing its garbage in a landfill by having a professional organization set up an in-house recycling program. The money saved is initially spent on the professionals who guarantee that their fees won’t exceed the savings. By the time that a company’s in-house staff is fully trained to handle recycling the go home, at which point the company starts to really benefit from cost reductions.
It’s a great model that I’ve seen applied in the world of business with tremendous success a number of times. A similar principle is applied to 27 communities in Philadelphia, where an initiative called Recyclebank.com went underway a few years ago. The program has led to vastly reduced amounts of garbage ending up in a landfill.
It’s all to do with a re-evaluation of a few classic ideas about cost. For instance, Recyclebank.com offers real money to citizens in return for their recycling efforts, doing so because it guarantees cost savings first. And our “Company X” saving money on landfill charges by having professionals recycle its waste works along the same lines. Both programs are successful because they take the cost concept and alter it slightly.
Recyclebank gets its funding from city authorities who save money due to their lower landfill fees, much the same way as the professional recycling organization is sponsored by a company eager to make future cost savings on landfill fees. What recyclebank keeps from going to the dumps is directly passed onto those responsible for creating the reduced garbage.
How? It’s made a deal with local municipalities under which the authorities pay it $24 a household in return for which Recyclebank guarantees they will save at least that much on landfill fees. The company also receives revenue from recycling plants, depending on how much it increases the amount of materials that are processed.
Households that particpate in the Recyclebank initiative get a special garbage bin equipped with a computer chip that weighs its contents just before the sanitation guys collect them. The credit is linked with value coupons that participants are free to spend at scores of businesses.
Recyclebank started off in 2004 with $100,000 of seed money from the University of Colombia and is a huge success. Today it employs 50 people. The reason of its success is that everyone’s a winner; municipal officials cut down landfill fees, retailers get free PR and the recycling parties get money.
A self-evident activity like recycling tends to thrive once its base principle has been carried through to the absolute maximum. The key to successful recycling models definitely spins around re-evaluating costs.