Thursday, July 18, 2013

If you learn what can be made from your recycled plastic, will you recycle more?

The Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful have teamed up to do a campaign urging consumers to recycle more.  The strategy is to explain what recycled goods can become, e.g. plastic benches and sports arenas.

It’s an interesting approach and since few people actually bother to recycle (and the amounts go down by age) it’s probably time to start getting the recycling message out there.  But, is this the best approach?  Will people find it motivating?  Do you?

Here’s a link to one of the commercials in the campaign.

And here’s a link to a blog from 2011 about some research that suggests an alternative approach.

Forbes, T. (2013, July 17)  Ad Council, Keep America Beautiful Recycle Their Cause.  Retrieved July 17, 2013 from,


  1. I like this commercial, it brings associations with our "human" life and goals. No matter what people think about you, you can always dream and work hard on becoming someone who you want to be.

  2. Any effort taken to make life more positive ,surrounded with great environment is appreciable. Personally feel that the re-use of hotel towels(2010) in hotel rooms was a good approach to make people aware, at least makes a sense or leads to a judgement that how much percentage of the public got aware.

  3. I'm not particularly motivated by the commercial. When I read the campaign's basic strategy, it seemed like it should be a great, effective plan. But the actual execution didn't really hit home for me, particularly because the ad felt... paternal, which I don't yet connect to.

    I don't know whether it was the attitude of helping a little guy grow up into a stadium, or whether it reminded me of "Feed The Children" in some sort of (paraphrasing) 'a little effort can go a long way' frame of reference. Either way, the ad felt so idealistic that it seemed disconnected from my actual recycling thought process.

    At college, each suite was provided a Blue recycling bin (for cans, bottles, and the like) and a Green recycling bag (for paper goods). It was difficult to forget to recycle your soda or beer because the vivid colors were impossible to miss. And you would dump the recyclables in the same area as you would your garbage. How convenient! I didn't need to be convinced to recycle, and I didn't need to know the consequences of recycling. It just needed to be visibly present and relatively easy to deal with.

    At home, we have no separate containers for recycling and garbage. And living in an apartment building, we have one garbage chute for garbage accessible from every floor, but we have to take any recyclables down to an area on the ground floor that's so small, it's often full up with other people's recyclables. So I don't recycle at home.

    The MediaPost article states that only 38% of people surveyed are 'avid recyclers,' but I question the notion that efforts to increase recycling should start by increasing the share of 'avid recyclers,' leaving all of the legwork to people who weren't interested before. Instead, I think efforts to promote recycling would be better served by efforts to make recycling less inconvenient (or at least seem less inconvenient).

    Perhaps this execution would have worked well towards branding for a recycling management company, but I'm not likely to take the motivation of 'helping bottles become benches' into my daily life and go out of my way to recycle.

  4. In my case i dont believe if the goberment told me the campain, because i feel like for be nice with the country they can promess all.

    Eitherway, if one brand represent the recycle campain all the people will be more consciosly. Because they believe in the brand, and we feel more identify with the brand.

    They have to have one important brand behind the campain, because they have credibility and when is something real you believe more.

    But I think that with this type of things is the only way that we can chance our mine, motivate and start to recycle.

    So i think that its very good idea, but they need a confiable brand.