Carton Council Canada (CCC) recently wrapped up an 8-week social media campaign focused on increasing the public’s awareness about recycling cartons.
Between January and March 2021, the campaign shared sponsored posts on Facebook and Google. These posts encouraged consumers in Ontario and Quebec to learn more about carton recycling by watching an at-home carton recycling video or by taking a quiz and answering a series of myth-busting questions about recycling.
The quiz covered topics such as the amount of trash produced by the average Canadian per day, what products recycled materials are turned into, and the number of jobs that recycling creates compared to disposal.
The campaign achieved significant reach. After 8 weeks:
- Campaign posts generated more than 5 million impressions;
- CCC’s video on carton recycling was played a total of 652,429 times;
- 281,298 people engaged on our social media posts through likes, comments and clicks;
- 12,366 people responded to CCC’s quiz.
Our audience was also eager to engage in the conversation. We heard from engaged recyclers who are advocates for the circular economy and those who are enthusiastic about their individual role in the process.
We also heard from consumers who shared their ongoing concerns about the state of our recycling systems. These messages featured a lot of cynicism and skepticism, with some consumers unfortunately thinking that a significant portion (or most!) of recyclables collected in their blue box actually end up disposed (landfill or incinerated) or exported to developing countries. The often-misunderstood statistic “only 9% of plastics are recycled in Canada” was brought up numerous times by commentators, reinforcing this theme.
The campaign offered CCC the opportunity to respond to these questions and concerns with factual and regional-specific information about recycling in general and carton recycling specifically. Taking the time to address each of those comments individually is essential to rebuild consumer trust. Arming consumers with resources and demystifying carton recycling is also an important element of recycling success.
In many cases, the consumer was grateful to have the correct information. For example, we were able to leverage data from the latest available Datacall report and emphasize that the overwhelming majority of the rejected materials DID NOT BELONG THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
We also leveraged municipal recycling program web pages, such as the Region of York’s, which explain that the majority of materials collected in the Blue Box programs (~ 70%) are sent for recycling in North America.
To support local awareness efforts, CCC has also launched an updated Image and Ad Bank, featuring all the ads from the campaign, in addition to carton images that can be used by partners and stakeholders in their own education efforts. All of these can be customized to support targeted education efforts.
If you have questions about this campaign, or recycling education, feel free to contact CCC’s Managing Director, Isabelle Faucher, at firstname.lastname@example.org.