Social Entrepreneur Combines Business With Vision
Social Entrepreneur Combines Business With Visionback

Exciting times! Creative, practical, inspiring ideas to help the environment are cropping up all over. Start-up social enterprises, aka small businesses, are, as always, leading the way.

Enterprising small business owners are reducing carbon emissions and cleaning up the world by taking risks, thinking outside the box, and pulling big organizations along after them.

Here’s one example of both the creativeness and the social consciousness that will make the world a better place … and keep entrepreneurship at the forefront of exciting ways to make a living.

The RecycleBank uses the carrot rather than the stick to get people to recycle: It gives rewards for recycling everything from plastic and glass to electronics. Its programs pull in individuals, corporations, trash haulers, and municipalities.

Those who earn rewards can use them to purchase goods at stores such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond or can pass them on to nonprofits.

RecycleBank’s 2008 Sustainability Report is a fascinating and inspiring chronology of growth, social consciousness, problem-solving, and employee relations. 

The report has the following statement which, to me, sounds like a kid with a cape, playing King-of-the-Hill for real:

RecycleBank has a mission to increase recycling habits of homeowners across the U.S. and the world. We want to be the undisputed champion of recycling and green behaviors. 

It would be hubris except it’s happening. An idea that began in 2002 “over beers” is a business today, with cities like Philadelphia and companies like Coca Cola as participants. Ron Gonen and his team are making recycling a positive, profitable experience. 

Their have taken their own concern for the planet and adapted a long-term business model – reward points – to create a new business. That’s social entrepreneurship: Creative, practical, and inspiring business solutions to social problems.

Do you have examples of entrepreneurs whose creative ideas are making a difference? Do you see a “why doesn’t somebody do … ?” that would make life better? Share with me.