MY ECO Wants You to Shop for Change

Innovative collaboration between retailers and shoppers keeps bags out of landfills and raises money for schools

Feb 05, 2013, 13:22 ET from MY ECO

MONTCLAIR, N.J., Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- MY ECO today announced the launch of an innovative solution to decreasing single use bags in the state of Massachusetts. Through partnerships with retailers, MY ECO will provide an incentive and reward in the form of donations to local schools when shoppers use their own bags. MY ECO's reuse rewards platform will calculate retailer donation amounts based on the number of disposable bags diverted from landfill and fund a school or charity as directed by the shopper.

The system is built around providing every shopper with a unique and universal barcode that can be used across retailers. In the store, the shopper simply scans their barcode, declines the store's single use bag and their reward donation is calculated and automatically distributed to the school or charity. The shopper will be able to login to their personal reuse account to track the number of bags they have kept out of landfills and the money they have raised for their school or charity. If they wish, they can easily share their success with everyone in their social network.

MY ECO's President Kristen Brown, whose father patented one of the early versions of the high density plastic tee shirt bag, has 20 years experience in materials management and specializes in residential waste reduction programs. Five years ago the reusable bag market peaked, thousands of consumers purchased reusable bags, but unfortunately bags sales did not correlate with continued reuse behavior and has remained stagnate.  According to Brown, " Decades of hard work has taught the recycling industry that achieving sustainable recycling behavior requires more than just setting out recycling containers; successful programs incorporate ongoing education, financial incentives, positive reinforcement and functional options." MY ECO combines these critical elements together to market reuse of reusable bags.

The company's socially interactive platform will start with school PTA's to enlist the next generation of shoppers to become the 'soldiers' that promote reuse-behavior. When 100 families 'shop for change', all year long, approximately 100,000 plastic bags are diverted from the waste stream, and the school earns about $1,000 from reuse.  MY ECO's platform is used to market reuse to families using: engaging educational tools, social media, gamification and most of all financial incentives. By rewarding schools and positively reinforcing individual behavior the MY ECO platform can continue to drive 'reuse' participation within the school network. 

MY ECO's CEO Tom Cherry, is not new to behavior change, as the founder of Virtual Press Office, acquired by PR Newswire, 2009, he developed a paperless solution for trade show press kits. Cherry explains, "Consumer behavior change is not easy, it's going to require a collaborative effort between retailers and consumers, working together towards a common goal. Engaging thousands of families will assist Massachusetts to reach the 'tipping point' on reuse behavior and gain ground ahead of increasing bag legislation."

MY ECO's fundraiser comes at a perfect time. As Massachusetts school budgets continue to decrease PTA's and PTO's are seeking alternative funding to help pay for needed supplies.  MY ECO plans to register 50,000 shoppers in 500 schools at the start of the 2013 school year.

About MY ECO

MY ECO is a reuse rewards system that incentivizes consumers to eliminate single use bags at retail stores while raising money for schools and charities. Based in Montclair, NJ the MY ECO system will launch in Massachusetts in 2013. In 2014 we expect Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Maryland to start offering reuse rewards.