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 out 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.
Individual rules for specific recycling streams were promoted in three week intervals to reduce overwhelm and increse 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 targeted to people living in areas with curbside recycling.
More than 315,000 people visited the website – – where detailed and thorough information educating Michigander's about the rules of recycling are 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 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.
Press coverage from 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