The Iconic Non-profit Is Teaming Up with a Coalition of Bottled Beverage Players Behind Brands Like Pure Life® and Poland Spring® to Encourage Recycling and Inspire Change
Did you know only three out of 10 plastic bottles are recycled in the U.S., while the rest go to landfills or waterways? Keep America Beautiful®, the nation’s leading community improvement for-impact nonprofit organization, today released a public service announcement (PSA) titled “Recycle Like Everyone Is Watching,” to help change consumer behavior and increase recycling rates for plastic bottles. Created in collaboration with leading national bottled beverage companies BlueTriton Brands, American Beverage and other organizations, this is the first PSA dedicated solely to recycling PET plastic water bottles, which are 100% recyclable and meant to be repurposed into new bottles.
This campaign is one of many actions the industry and organizations like Keep America Beautiful are taking to help improve national recycling rates. While achieving stronger recycling rates in the U.S. will also require action from companies, NGOs, and government officials to address critical issues like infrastructure, collection, and development of end-markets for recycled materials, the goal of this campaign is to increase participation from consumers in recycling empty bottles to drive a larger societal behavior shift to feed a circular economy.
Grey Advertising worked pro-bono and remotely through the COVID-19 pandemic to produce a high-quality, influential PSA rooted in social science to inspire behavioral change. According to research from Keep America Beautiful, 90% of Americans agree that littering is a problem in their state, and many of those people want to recycle, but don’t due to convenience and/or a feeling that their recycling does not make a difference. The PSA addresses the necessity for continued education toward recycling, but holistic work still needs to be done on both a corporate and individual consumer level to see lasting change.
“Recycle Like Everyone Is Watching” depicts two squirrels, "Stacy and Tracy," watching humans going about daily life and commenting on their behavior, while encouraging recycling and caring for the planet. Done with light humor, there is a comforting feeling of two old friends sitting on the porch watching life go by.
“We're at a crossroads where modern conveniences like plastic bottles support our ‘on the go’ lifestyle, but to maintain that lifestyle, we have to transition to a circular economy,” said Noah Ullman, Chief Marketing Officer for Keep America Beautiful. “PET plastics are common, 100% recyclable and incredibly easy for recycling systems to recycle into new feedstock. Many producers have already made commitments to transition to post-consumer recycled materials for production, and this PSA is designed to remind consumers that they have a resource in their empty plastic bottles that can be recycled and remade.”
“We know that consumers want to buy from brands with purpose and integrity. That’s one of the reasons we’re packaging our brands in better bottles – ones that are both made with 100% recycled plastic2 and are 100% recyclable when empty,” said Yumi Clevenger-Lee, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for BlueTriton Brands. “This PSA is just one of the ways we’re encouraging consumers to take action and recycle their empty bottles so they can be used to make new bottles. We are proud to further our involvement with Keep America Beautiful as we work together to deliver what our consumers want and what the planet needs.”
“Keep America Beautiful’s mission, born nearly seventy years ago, has never been more timely or relevant to today’s recycling efforts aimed at stopping plastic damage to our planet and our health,” said Rick Reilly, Partner at Grey. “We are honored to lend our creativity to this industry effort to change minds and the world.”
All parties involved look forward to seeing the impact that results from airing the PSA. Research conducted with IPSOS ASI shows that over half of people who saw the ad claim they will recycle more often versus those who didn’t see the ad. With an expected reach of 200 million impressions, there is promising potential to see significant behavioral change.
In addition to “Recycle Like Everyone Is Watching,” Keep America Beautiful released its 2020 National Litter Study earlier this month that provides a comprehensive understanding of the quantity, composition and sources of litter along roadways, waterways, and in non-roadway areas across the United States.
The study is a follow up to its landmark 2009 study, which builds on a history of science-based litter research started by Keep America Beautiful in 1969. The data collected reveals 50 billion pieces of litter are on the ground in the U.S.1
1 Keep America Beautiful 2020 National Litter Study
2 Bottles made with 100% recycled plastic, does not include caps and labels