Güd Marketing

A Sharp Decline in Recycling

Once a national leader in recycling, by 2019 Michigan had seen its recycling rate fall to an abysmal 15% — the lowest in the Great Lakes region and one of the lowest in the country. In addition to the detrimental effects on the environment, this was making it difficult for the recycling industry to make enough money to collect, sort and process waste. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) partnered with Güd Marketing to bring recycling back to the forefront in Michigan by increasing awareness and action.

“Know It Before You Throw It”

Our research revealed that a lack of awareness of the need for recycling and general confusion about how to properly do so were the driving force behind Michigan’s fallout with recycling. To introduce homeowners to proper practices, Güd Marketing developed “Know It Before You Throw It,” a broad campaign theme that was relevant, inviting, encouraging and adoptable for partner appeal. Our team created innovative ideas to extend the campaign and teach Michigan residents how to recycle properly with the “Recycling Raccoon Squad,” a six-member team of recycling ambassadors, each with a unique personality that reflected their individual focus.
A variety of paid, earned and owned media tactics, both traditional and nontraditional, were deployed to extend campaign reach. We conducted robust ongoing public relations services with local communities and partners statewide and executed a statewide road show of news conferences with localized content for each media market. We executed media opportunities including the “Masked Singer” dance-off on Twitter, which aired during the live show and prompted Michiganders to vote for their favorite raccoon performance. This led to the Lansing Fox TV affiliate requesting that the Recycling Raccoons be special-guest judges during its live “Twitter Parties.” A campaign website was developed to provide more information about the rules of recycling.

Campaign Tactics

Paid, Earned and Owned Media Tactics
TV and Radio Coverage
Social Media

Meaningful, Measurable Results

Since our initial contract as the agency of record for EGLE in 2019, the “Know It Before You Throw It” campaign has been an overwhelming success and our contract has been renewed through 2025. Based on statewide survey data, the campaign has delivered significant advances in knowledge about recycling and improved recycling behaviors across Michigan.
Highlights of campaign results include:


Worth of free media negotiated for the campaign


In earned (free) media coverage


In knowledge that food residue ruins recycling
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