A Facebook Game With a Mission: Waste Management to Launch Oceanopolis

Oceanopolis LogoWaste Management and its subsidiary Greenopolis are diving into social gaming with a new Facebook app called Oceanopolis. The game will launch in beta, with a full rollout expected in the coming weeks.

In the game, players maintain their own island by recycling trash to build a sustainable community and interacting with friends. Points earned virtually turn into printable coupons that can be used at movie theaters, restaurants and stores. Alternatively, they can be turned into cash donations. Points can also be earned in real life through recycling or through blogging on Greenopolis‘ site.

When Greenopolis, a environmentally themed social networking site and blogging community launched two years ago, Michael Arrington wrote that it would be better suited as a Facebook application. Oceanopolis seems to fit that bill.

According to the site, Greenopolis members have earned 6.7 million rewards and the physical recycling kiosks have recovered 3.5 million bottles, cans and other items thus far.

Greenopolis and Oceanopolis Creative Director Anthony Zolezzi said the reason for creating Oceanopolis was to virtually engage consumers. “It’s critically important that large companies get involved in the solution,” he added. “One thing Waste Management does is lets Greenopolis operate independently as part of a solution.” Waste Management is the largest recycler in North America.

Oceanopolis is kicking off its beta launch with a fundraiser for Ocean Aid, which will hold an annual concert to fund research on pollution-filled ocean gyres. Greenopolis will donate a dollar on behalf of anyone who tweets: “Make waves. Fight ocean pollution with http://apps.Facebook.com/Oceanopolis #Oceanopolis.”

It remains to be seen whether recycling on a virtual island can inspire real-life recycling, and whether Oceanopolis will be able to gain a significant user base. At the very least, Oceanopolis could be an addictive game to feel good instead of guilty about playing.