Let’s face it—recycling can be very confusing to consumers. When the plastics industry came up with the chasing arrows and numbering system for the seven most common types of plastics, it probably never dreamed that consumers would be at a loss when it came to figuring out what and how to recycle.
That could be why less than half of recyclables—and a mere 30% of PET bottles—are actually recycled by U.S. consumers. Since PET is one of the most recyclable and in-demand materials, re-introducing it into the value chain should be a no-brainer.
Poland Spring Brand 100% Natural Spring Water has come up with a solution to this dilemma. The company is teaming up with the Recycling Partnership to tackle one of the core reasons for low recycling rates—consumer confusion. Starting this month, they are launching their Instagram recycling hotline to answer the common question, “Can I recycle this?” Consumers can post a photo of the item in question on their Instagram feed or in their stories and tag #NotTrash and @PolandSpringWtr to ask for help. Poland Spring and the Recycling Partnership will get back to them with an answer.
“Consumers are at the heart of everything we do, and that means we are constantly listening to them to understand their needs and preferences,” said Yumiko Clevenger-Lee, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Nestlé Waters North America, Poland Spring’s parent company. “What we’re hearing is that consumers are concerned and confused about plastic bottles. So, we’re working on innovations like our recently launched and nationally available Poland Spring Origin in a 100% recycled plastic bottle. And we’re taking it a step further by working with organizations like the Recycling Partnership to help remove some of the confusion about recycling.”
Poland Spring is donating $150,000 to the Recycling Partnership to help improve curbside access to recycling and inspire Americans to recycle more and better.
“We are thrilled Poland Spring is joining the Recycling Partnership, and we’re excited about our collaboration on the #NotTrash campaign,” said Recycling Partnership CEO Keefe Harrison. “Consumers play a critical role in reducing waste and improving markets for recyclable materials by recycling properly. Debunking common recycling myths empowers residents to do their part to recycle better, which improves their local recycling programs, helps create a healthier U.S. recycling system and is good for the planet.”
Poland Spring and Nestlé Waters North America are committed to leading the industry in the use of recycled plastic. Poland Spring’s current packaging, which is made from PET, is already 100% recyclable. In June, the brand made the industry-leading commitment to convert all its individual-sized still water bottles to 100% recycled plastic by 2022. The conversion has started already, with their 1- and 1.5-liter still water sizes being made with 100% recycled plastic. The brand also expanded the use of How2Recycle labels across all of its packaging to remind consumers to empty the bottle, replace the cap and recycle when they’re done.
“We’re on a mission to eliminate the “single” from “single-use” plastics,” said David Tulauskas, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Nestlé Waters North America. “When valuable plastic like PET is not recycled, it can’t be broken down and reused to make new products, which is a waste of money and resources. On the other hand, as more consumers recycle their PET bottles, they increase the number of bottles that can be made with bottles and reduce the need for virgin plastic. Working with partners like the Recycling Partnership helps to make recycling as convenient as possible for consumers.”
Image: Ljupco Smokovski/Adobe Stock