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Wasteful thinking
Wasteful thinking
Not everyone bothers to recycle, a fact of life that Ron Gonen found endlessly frustrating. So in 2004 the former Deloitte consultant created RecycleBank, a for-profit Philadelphia startup that pays people for their recyclables (mostly in the form of gift certificates to retailers like Whole Foods), then trucks the trash away and even sorts it at the plant. Homeowners like being able to track their trash -- Gonen installs RFID tags on their bins -- to see both how close they are to their next coupon and how many trees their recyclables have saved. -- Jenny Mero

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Last updated April 21 2008: 9:03 AM ET