2009 Laureates

Entrepreneurial Vision

Mr. Ron Gonen

Environmental activist Ron Gonen saw opportunity in a very unusual place - trash. The environmental entrepreneur’s brainchild, RecycleBank, is a rewards and loyalty company which helps people turn their trash into cash. As CEO and Co-founder, Gonen believes that by offering rewards, which can be redeemed for consumer products at over 1,400 local and national retailers, people are motivated to recycle more.

From its launch in 2004, RecycleBank is acknowledged as an unqualified success and has now grown their venture in 18 states. RecycleBank is increasing participation in recycling from single digits to over 90% in communities across the United States. The company now targets schools and runs a pilot program with New York City’s Columbia University where special recycling kiosks are set up in cafeterias and dorms. It recently attracted a US$2million investment from Coca Cola as part of the beverage giant’s initiative to promote recycling. In Gonen’s own words, "the core of RecycleBank is the ability to target and market to a captive audience that feels good about what they are doing."

Further Resources


Veerabhadran Ramanathan, USA/India
Champion of the Earth 2013 - Science and Innovation

Policymakers across the world are realizing that through cost-effective actions such as reducing methane emissions from natural gas and oil production, major reductions in short-lived climate pollutants can be achieved, with significant add-on benefits for health and food security.

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