Know It Before You Throw It

Image of Recycling Raccoon Squad

Getting Michigan’s recycling program back on track.

For years, Michigan was a leader in the national recycling movement, but by the early 2000s it had one of the lowest recycling rates in the U.S. – including the worst of all Great Lakes states.

To address this issue, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) sought an innovative public education campaign to improve both the quality and quantity of recycling throughout Michigan.

Support was not the problem.

People across Michigan saw the value of recycling.
Research showed that Michiganders believed in and supported recycling but didn’t know how to do it properly. A comprehensive campaign was needed to introduce homeowners to rules for the six recycling categories – metal, paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and “other.”

Say hello to the Recycling Raccoon Squad.

Broad media helped people take a fresh look at a familiar concept through humor and “animal magnetism”.
TV / Video
Large billboards on highways helped build squad and URL recall.
Smaller billboards on city corridors with longer read times were used to deliver key rules by recycling stream.
Rules for specific recycling streams were promoted in three-week intervals so as not to overwhelm recyclers and increase retention.
Bus cards increased visibility of the squad in Michigan’s urban centers, helping to deliver almost 78 million impressions for all outdoor tactics combined.

Cute, Cuddly and Clickable.

Digital drove engagement well beyond expectations.
Targeted Display
Digital ads featuring key rules by recycling stream were targeted to people living in areas with curbside recycling.
More than 315,000 people visited the website – – where detailed and thorough information educating Michiganders about the rules of recycling were shared.

Show-Stealing Social.

Social media spurred impressive impressions and engagements.
Paid Social
Paid social posts led to content marketing articles boasting a 1.47% click-through rate.
Paid social generated a whopping 68,782 engagements.
Interactive Social
The squad and Lansing television affiliate Fox47 created an interactive social media contest. Each raccoon performed a dance and viewers voted for their favorite on Twitter.
This innovative partnership garnered more than 270,000 impressions and almost 100,000 engagements.

Talkin’ Trash Across Michigan.

The Recycling Raccoon Squad hits the road to educate all Michiganders.
Earned Media
Press events were held around Michigan throughout the first six months of the campaign.
The events led to 280 articles published and overall media coverage that would have cost more than $2.6 million to buy.

Results that speak for themselves.

Talking raccoons delivered more than just recycling rules.