It’s hard to argue about the evils of gamification when it’s being used to inspire people and corporations to act responsibly, whether that’s to improve your waistline, learn basic mathematics or, in the spirit of Earth Day, to go green.
There have been many programs, both online and in the real world, that have offered cash for recycling cans, or discounts in exchange for used ink cartridges. ‘Green gamification’ has spread to the web and on Facebook as well, although it’s perhaps not as high-profile as it deserves to be.
One of the more interesting examples of this is Recyclebank, a web-based program that gives consumer points for doing things like reading green articles, recycling at home and making greener purchases (like saving paper by buying a Barnes & Noble Nook tablet). Rack up enough points and then use to them to ‘buy’ discounts on everything from lip balm to generic discounts for larger retail outlets, such as Kmart and Macys.
But, this isn’t a new program -- the company has been around for eight years, although it was recently called out by Fast Company as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2012.
Other examples include Terracycle, which encourage consumers to mail in recyclable waste in exchange for a donation to charity and Practically Green, which offers advice on how to green-ify your lifestyle.
It’s too bad that there aren't some more recent high-profile examples of green gamification or green gaming, and I would love to see some new attention paid to this space. Earth Day only comes once a year, but there’s no reason we can’t encourage people with related games and interactive features all year long.