Recyclebank, started in Philly, sells out

Tom Paine

Update: This is what happened to the Philly Recyclebank program:

Recyclebank, which started life in Philly before moving its headquarters to New York, was sold to New York-based Recycle Track Systems (RTS) in late October. Terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 2006 by Philadelphians Patrick FitzGerald and Ron Gonen, Recyclebank rewarded loyal recyclers with points that could be redeemed for things of value. Through RFID or GPS  installed on recycling bins and in the recycling truck,  Recyclebank was able to track which households were recycling. It raised $85.2 million in venture funding, mostly early on. However, the price recyclable materials could fetch dropped sharply over the course of the company’s existence, cutting out most of the financial value of redeeming recyclable waste..

Recyclebank’s municipal contracts have dropped from 400 to 67. Most customers I’ve tracked were using some type of grant to pay initial expenses, but once that source ran out many didn’t want to fund it out of the general budget and did not renew.

The city of Philadelphia, a key customer since the beginning, dropped Recyclebank this past June.

FitzGerald, after leaving Recyclebank and following a stint with DreamiT Ventures, now heads up TCF Ventures and lectures at the Wharton School.

A small group of employees (around 13) remains in Philly..

The CEO of RTS believes his company can make use of Recyclebank’s technology.