Green

Waste Management touts real-life recycling with Facebook game

Maybe offering three cents per aluminum can isn’t much of an incentive to recycle. Would a  game on Facebook be a better motivator?

Recycling company Greenopolis, a subsidiary of trash services giant Waste Management, seems to think so. It’s bringing Facebook game Oceanopolis out of closed beta today as a way to use social gaming to reward recycling both in real life and the virtual world.

Greenopolis already offers interactive recycling kiosks (pictured) in high-traffic areas places like Whole Foods stores, which track consumers’ recycling history and can print store coupons based on the cash value of items recycled. Members of the recycling program also accrue points, which can be used to earn discounts at participating restaurants and retailers.

Oceanopolis players can combine points earned within the game with real-life recycling points to redeem additional discounts. In the game itself, players build a sustainable community of islands, the ocean and their friends’ homes.

The company says the game is intended to be a gateway for players to learn how to interact with the kiosks and other Greenopolis technology. Currently, participants can use the website to track their points and learn about sustainable living.

“We’re excited to open Oceanopolis and introduce a new way for social gamers to become active in the recycling process,” said Jeffrey Smith, senior creative manager of Greenopolis. “Through the Greenopolis Recycling System, we are creating a new approach that makes sustainable living fun, interactive and rewarding for everyone who participates.”

Most of the recyclables collected through the program are handled by Waste Management, which has more than 100 recycling facilities nationwide. Since its launch in 2008, Greenopolis has collected more than four million items, the company says. And it has plans to “dramatically increase” that number thanks in part to to a growing number of kiosks.

“We have a goal to triple the amount of items we recycle by 2020,” said Carl Rush, vice president of organic growth of Waste Management. “Oceanopolis will help us reach this goal by integrating new technologies with our established network of recycling facilities.”

Oceanopolis, previously in closed beta, is now open for all to play at http://www.facebook.com/oceanopolis. The official Greenopolis site is at http://www.greenopolis.com.

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