Proving that not all eco-efforts have to happen on Earth Day, Honest Tea's new eco-centric campaign, The Great Recycle, launches on Monday April 30th with the goal of boosting recycling awareness and activity across America in general, and consumer recycling of all of Honest Tea bottles by 2020.
It took 10 people to inflate the 30-foot-tall 100% recyclable recycling bin (at right) that will be placed in New York's Times Square on Monday in a bid to collect at least 45,000 beverage containers in a single day, approximately the same number of Honest beverage bottles typically sold daily in New York in April.
The company generates about 20 million glass bottles and 60 million plastic bottles each year, just a sliver of the total Americans used in 2010: 38.6 billion glass and 71.9 billion plastic, according to the Container Recycling Institute.
Hard statistics on U.S. recycling activity are hard to come by, although the Environmental Protection Agency estimates about 33% of glass bottles and 27% of plastic bottles are currently recycled.
“Recycling rates are still low, so we were looking for something aggressive but still fun and engaging to deliver the message," Seth Goldman, co-founder and CEO of Honest Tea, which was acquired by Coca-Cola last year, told the New York Times. “We wanted to do something in a big, visible way. Our focus is to make a high impact this month, which is called 'Earth Month.' We want people to be aware and make a commitment.”
The Times Square kick-off is being advertised on billboards and at businesses and colleges across New York’s five boroughs. During the 10-hour duration of Monday's Times Square event, people can take the stage to deposit bottles and cans into the bin while Honest Tea employees, including Goldman, pedal a bicycle-powered conveyor belts that deliver the bottles and cans to the bin.
All of the plastic bottles collected through the Times Square launch activation will be recycled by local nonprofit GrowNYC into gardening materials for New York's public schools. And there's an added sweetener: Participants can earn points redeemable for Broadway theater and concert tickets, bikes, yoga mats, restaurant gift certificates, snacks and advanced VIP screening tickets to Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming movie, The Dictator. For example, two empty bottles donated equals some snacks, while 30 empty bottles equals a t-shirt.
The campaign's Facebook Recycler App is a collaboration between Honest Tea and NY-based Amalgamated ad agency, encouraging people to commit to 'recycling' old Facebook posts and making a weekly (actual) recycling pledge, as 4,000 people have now pledged. The app analyzes Facebook timelines, pulls old posts with the most likes or comments, and once a recycle choice is made, reposts it to your timeline with a branded message that promotes recycling. Points for recycling posts can be redeemed at Recyclebank.com for discounts from 3,000 plus businesses, restaurants and stores.
The campaign's Twitter hashtag (#GreatRecycle) decorates the side of the giant recycling bin and will be promoted on fliers (made of recycled paper) distributed city-wide. Honest Tea has placed more than 30 recycling bins on streets in its hometown of Bethesda, Md. The company has placed more than 30 recycling bins on city streets, and has also provided bins to music festivals, as has Coke with 150,000 bins set up at public events.
Sister Coca-Cola brand Odwalla is also promoting the Great Recycle campaign, along with local schools and corporations (including brandchannel parent Interbrand), and the New Jersey-based Terracycle (covered here).
What about you? If you're in New York on Monday, swing by Times Square with your plastic bottles, glass bottles, soda cans and drink pouches — every bit helps!