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Keep America Beautiful, Ad Council launch recycling awareness campaign

Public service ad targets nearly two-thirds of Americans who are not avid recyclers

July 11, 2013

The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash a day, and the United States as a whole produces more than 250 million tons of trash each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, only about 35 percent is recycled, it says. To address this national concern, the Ad Council, New York, and Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, Conn., launched a public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to raise awareness about the benefits of recycling with the goal to make recycling a daily social norm.

According to research released by the Ad Council, 52 percent of Americans say that they are “very” or “extremely” knowledgeable about how to properly recycle, and 38 percent say they are “avid recyclers,” recycling as much as possible and willing to go out of their way to do so. Of consumers who do not recycle often, among the most common reasons given for not recycling are that respondents did not have enough information about where to recycle or what types of materials they are able to recycle.  

The “I Want To Be Recycled” campaign is targeted to motivate Americans to recycle every day. Created pro bono by San Francisco-based ad agency Pereira & O’Dell, the campaign shows that recyclable materials can be given another life and become something new if someone chooses to recycle.

The campaign directs audiences to www.iwanttoberecycled.org, a new website with a localized search tool allowing users to find local recycling information and locate their nearest recycling center. The website illustrates the recycling process through an interactive infographic and offers detailed information about what materials can be recycled, how they should be recycled, and what products they can become in the future.

“We are thrilled to be again collaborating with Keep America Beautiful, our longstanding partner in creating PSAs that lead to a more sustainable environment, as we work to increase rates of recycling nationwide,” said Peggy Conlon, president and chief executive officer of the Ad Council, in a statement. “Together, I know that we can reach the ‘occasional’ recycler and transform recycling into a simple, daily habit for millions of Americans.”  

Brenda Pulley, Keep America Beautiful senior vice president of recycling, added: “This campaign is the emotional push needed to raise awareness and positively change people’s behavior to recycle more. Our intent is to increase recycling rates, which translates into measurable benefits including waste reduction, energy savings, natural resource conservation and job creation. Based on survey feedback, we know people want to recycle. This campaign is designed to tap into that desire as well as provide helpful tools to make recycling easier.”

The “I Want To Be Recycled” campaign is funded through Keep America Beautiful by Alcoa Foundation, the American Chemistry Council, the Anheuser-Busch Foundation, Nestlé Waters North America, Niagara Bottling, Unilever and Waste Management. The online survey, commissioned by the Ad Council, was conducted in partnership with C + R Research. Research was conducted nationwide from June 25 through July 8 on a sample of 999 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 64.   

The Ad Council is distributing the new PSAs for TV, radio, outdoor and digital media to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide. Following the Ad Council’s model, the ads will run in space and time entirely donated by the media. The campaign will be supported by a comprehensive public relations and social media program on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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