Mentos sustainability campaign ‘proves’ racoons are better at recycling


    • Mentos enlisted raccoons to do the dirty work of trash collecting for a new sustainability-driven campaign, according to a news release. 
    • The effort highlights Mentos’ recyclable packaging and leverages research by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that found only 32% of U.S. consumers recycle. Proclaimed as a logical solution, Mentos spent over 40 hours training raccoons to do the duty instead.
    • A 60-second spot showcases the animal task force at work, reportedly proving to recycle 75% of the time. Consumers through Nov. 26 can send a text to a designated number to request the task force visit their city, while a social media component offers themed merchandise giveaways. 


    Sustainability is a hot topic right now, especially among Gen Z consumers. But EPA data from July indicates not even a third of Americans are actually recycling, despite 78% of the population reporting they are more likely to purchase a product clearly labeled as environmentally friendly. As such, Mentos is not only attempting to elevate itself as an eco-friendly brand, but urging consumers to actually take action — cue the trash pandas. 

    Because they’re already digging around in the trash most days, Mentos believed recruiting raccoons to a recycling experiment made sense. Dubbed the Mentos Raccoon Recycling Task Force, Mentos trained a small army of critters to pick up Mentos Pure Fresh Gum containers, which are made in the U.S. using a 90% paperboard bottle as of February. The training took place in Simi Valley, CA, where Mentos saw “major success,” with 75% of the raccoons recycling. 

    To promote the findings, a minute-long spot highlights the training process, careful to note that the creatures were not harmed in the process. Instead, they were fed a variety of expensive treats and “treated like royalty.” Viewers can watch as the task force recycles Mentos containers through various obstacles, with a comical voiceover highlighting that they “don’t even have opposable thumbs.”

    “Working with the Raccoon Recycling Force is a fun way to highlight how we can all do a little bit better, while learning from such an adorable and talented pack of creatures,” said Craig Cuchra, vice president of marketing at Perfetti Van Melle, the maker of Mentos.

    The campaign also has mobile and out-of-home (OOH) elements, opening the Mentos RRF hotline. Consumers can text “raccoons” to 1-833-RACYCLE through Nov. 26 for the opportunity to bring the task force to their town or city.

    Additionally, there will be social media activations across TikTok and Instagram, inviting users to take the “official RRF pledge” to properly recycle their Mentos products. Those who follow Mentos on Instagram, comment on the page “I pledge to recycle” and add the hashtag #sweepstakes will enter to win themed task force merchandise including hats, T-shirts and pins.

    The Raccoon Recycling Task Force is one example of how brands are creatively starting conversations around sustainability. Others have taken to the space, with Coors Light in March announcing an $85 million push to remove plastic rings from its packaging. To promote the move, beer brand opened a “Plastic-Free Future Mart” pop-up experience in New York. Last year, Nature Valley pledged to have fully recyclable packaging by 2025 and subsequently created a TikTok challenge to promote eco-friendly habits.


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