For over eight years, CoreValue has been involved in a technology side of Recyclebank’s worldwide eco-consciousness project. The objective of the project was to raise the level of citizens’ eco-consciousness around the world. At present, there is no equivalent project in Lviv, but it could help to solve the recycling problem facing our city.
What is this system? How to make use of it ? How did Lviv citizens work on it?
Since its launch in 2004, Recyclebank has been encouraging Americans to recycle. The idea behind the program is that participating households receive rewarding points for the recycled waste, this information goes digital so that bonus balance can be tracked online and further exchanged for discount coupons at retailers, entertainment points, restaurants, etc.
The program is successful due to both public and private support. Local governments in several states have shown cooperation and support. When The Coca-Cola Company established a charitable fund for support of ecological programs in schools and libraries, Recyclebank members had an opportunity to join the program by using their points as charity donations.
In 2009, Recyclebank entered the UK market, and a couples of years ago an online shop of “green” goods and services, OneTwine.com, was launched. Members can now use their “‘recycling points” to purchase a wide range of goods through Recyclebank’s webpage.
How does the project function?
People in different countries join Recyclebank for different reasons. Every member who registers online can earn points on the Internet and gain more knowledge of how to lead a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Points can be earned for taking quizzes and tests, as well as reading blogs that convey information on waste sorting.
Having logged into their personal accounts on the site, users can see how to receive a 20% discount in Adidas using bonuses. There is also an option to spend bonuses as a charitable donation, such as sending bonuses to an organization that will plant a tree, etc.
How did Lviv people experience working on the project?
CoreValue, whose main development office is located in Lviv, has worked on this project for almost 8 years. There are no equivalent projects in Lviv.
According to Liubomyr Seniuk, CTO at CoreValue, “We were glad to join an initiative aimed at saving the environment. It was very interesting to work with such ideologically inspired people, for whom protection of the environment is a style of life.”
In the United States, the recycling situation was a little worse than in Europe. Recyclebank suggested an idea of a single box for all the waste that can be recycled. All recyclables were collected into one bin and weighed. Afterward, bonus points were given for the total amount of this waste.
CoreValue developed the system for over 4 million visitors.
“Our site was very user-friendly. We liked the idea that trash makes financial sense. A similar idea might be very valuable for people who live in the Lviv region, due to the fact that the problem of waste and eco-education is extremely topical here as well,” Liubomyr noted.
For users in Lviv, such a system has become accessible thanks to the emergence of sources where points can be earned for reading articles and taking tests. There is also information on how to sort waste properly, what can be recycled, and what can be thrown away. Such articles will be interesting and useful not only for eco-activists, but also for all the city’s residents.
“We’ve been working on the technicalities of the solution for many years. We extended and enhanced admin panel, developed green e-commerce and mobile applications. The entire team staff numbered 30 people. Now there are 350 people working for CoreValue. Currently, we are mostly maintaining the overall system,” the CTO tells.
What are the next steps?
Public psychology is changing now. With the understanding of the vulnerability of the nature, people want to join the process of saving our planet.
CoreValue is working on a line of related initiatives and projects not only in Lviv, but all over Ukraine, to develop an eco-conscious community.
At a time when all waste containers in the city were overloaded and people were actively looking for places where trash could be brought, interest arose in specialized drop-off stations where trash is collected for money. In most cases, waste is collected from citizens for a song, especially in terms of household scale. Nevertheless, it is still money.
If an appropriate gamification strategy is used, this surge of social consciousness can be channeled into some very interesting startups.
For example, the system would recognize who brought what kind of waste to which station, and then would reward the user with points. It can be done using geolocation or a special hashtag on Instagram. The system could also suggest the closest stations that accept particular kinds of waste; build the routes to these stations; remind the user about the necessity to discard trash; send push-up notifications about other users’ activity; provide the users with an opportunity to share their good deeds in social networks.
“Why not share the good things I did?” CoreValue’s developers say. In such a way, the eco-consciousness of society will raise, starting with individuals and finishing at global scale. That is how we can help our planet become a little healthier.
More about technicalities here