MillerCoors and Naked Juice are launching eco-educational initiatives through a new "Learn & Earn" platform offered by RecycleBank, the for-profit that rewards consumers and communities for activities that contribute to sustainability.
Procter & Gamble was the first company to begin using the platform, which was introduced last month.
New York-headquartered RecycleBank works with municipalities/waste haulers and corporate and regional sponsors in the U.S. and the U.K. to establish recycling programs that reward participating consumers with points redeemable for rewards offered by national brands and local retailers and businesses.
In addition to recycling household waste, through various incentive programs, consumers can sign up through RecycleBank.com to earn points for activities ranging from recycling electronics to using renewable energy sources, reusing products, and simply downloading or viewing sponsor-supported green content.
RecycleBank rewards sponsor exposure opportunities include customized reward programs, targeted advertising and seasonal advertising/ promotions, city/regional sponsorships, and content and category-based sponsorships. Partners get a page on RecycleBank.com, a category listing in the online rewards-redemption shopping catalog area (for national brand offers), and rewards-redemption metrics. (Many types of participant rewards are redeemable in-store.)
RecycleBank, which has raised more than $70 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins, RRE Ventures and Sigma Partners since its inception in 2005, continues to launch new rewards-based marketing and advertising programs.
One of the latest is the content-driven Learn & Earn program, which is already being used by P&G as part of awareness building for its "Future Friendly" sustainability educational program, according to Samantha Skey, chief revenue officer for RecycleBank.
Learn & Earn programs offer consumers RecycleBank rewards points for viewing videos and other content about companies' sustainability initiatives and how consumers can build greener practices into their everyday lives. Users take a short online quiz about what they have learned to trigger the points.
MillerCoors, which became a RecycleBank partner in 2009 -- joining brands such as Coca-Cola, Kashi, Nature Made, Yoplait, LeapFrog and Nestle Purina, as well as P&G -- is employing Learn & Earn to increase consumer awareness of sustainability initiatives such as its zero-waste brewery operations (99% of all glass, paperboard, plastics, metals and byproducts are recycled or reused), as well as tips to help consumers reduce their own unrecycled waste. Consumers will earn points good for rewards through national and local RecycleBank partners, and can also earn chances to win an iPod by engaging in additional content about MillerCoors' green initiatives.
MillerCoors' Learn & Earn campaign will launch on America Recycles Day (Nov. 15), Keep America Beautiful's annual recycling awareness event (both MillerCoors and Naked Juice are sponsors of the event and KAB). The brewer will drive consumers to its partner page on RecycleBank through rotating online ads on Mother Nature Network and other online partner sites, RecycleBank's Facebook and Twitter accounts, and emails to RecycleBank's community.
In the first phase, consumers who click on a banner ad and answer one quiz question will be rerouted to RecycleBank.com to register to receive/redeem 10 points. Upon redemption, they will be redirected to the MillerCoors partner page to interact with sustainability content. In phase two, starting Nov. 23, users will be able to interact with an expanded quiz module to earn larger numbers of points.
PepsiCo-owned Naked Juice, which has just signed on as a RecycleBank partner, will employ the L&E content engagement/quiz/rewards platform to build awareness of the eco benefits of its use of reNEWabottles made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic (basically, bottles made from other bottles), and the benefits of consumer recycling of such bottles. Last year, Naked Juice became the first nationally distributed beverage brand to use the containers, starting with its 32-ounce bottles. Now, the brand is expanding use to all of its 10-, 15.2- and 64-ounce juice and smoothies containers.
Skey stresses that the cumulative power of RecycleBank lies in its core concept of generating eco-beneficial actions among the 70% of "mainstream" consumers, many of whom are confused or alienated by the barrage of green information and the often "preachy" tone of such communications. Consumers can choose to engage in small or more ambitious ways through RecycleBank, but all are made easy (one big container is used for all household recyclables, for example), and all yield incentives, she notes.
According to the company, RecycleBank's programs, which now reach into more than 300 communities in the U.S. and U.K. (3 million+ households), have saved more than 1.5 million trees and millions of gallons of oil, in addition to saving cities millions of dollars in reduced landfill disposal costs. (New CEO Jonathan Hsu recently told TechCrunch.com that RecycleBank's revenues have tripled in each of the last two years, and that the company is close to profitability and plans an IPO by 2013.)
MillerCoors views RecycleBank and vehicles like the L&E program as practical, effective ways to connect with and motivate small but significant actions by average consumers, confirms VP, corporate social responsibility Kim Marotta.
The recycling rate for beverage containers and other recyclable household waste has basically been stuck at slightly over 50% since the 1980s, and cooperative corporate efforts that provide consumers with simple, attractive ways to pitch in are the key to "making real progress," Marotta says.