Ron Gonen, co-founder and CEO of New York-based RecycleBank, is one of seven recipients of the 2009 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Champion of the Earth award in the Entrepreneurial Vision category. He was honored at an international ceremony held in conjunction with the Business for the Environment Summit (B4E) in Paris on Wednesday.
The Champions of the Earth award was established in 2004 by the UNEP to acknowledge those who have made a significant contribution to the protection and sustainable management of the environment and natural resources.
RecycleBank oversees a program that rewards households for the amount they recycle. RecycleBank recycling carts are outfitted with RFID tags, and the company uses a proprietary technology to record and translate the amount each home recycles into points that can be used to shop at more than 1,400 local and national businesses.
“At RecycleBank, we focus on providing every home in every neighborhood the opportunity to be rewarded for recycling and for doing their part to protect our environment,” Gonen said in a press release. “Being recognized by the United Nations Environment Programme as a ‘2009 Champion of the Earth’ demonstrates that an idea conceived in an apartment, when adopted by a great team of people, can be turned into a global movement.”