#SUIVEZMOI: a recycling awareness campaign on the move

About Eco-emballages

Eco-Emballages manages the French national programme for the sorting and recycling of consumer good packaging. The programme was set up in the framework of “Wider Producer Responsibility” (WPR) – a French national policy that makes it obligatory for producers and sellers of consumer goods to participate in recycling efforts. Eco-emballages was set up as a small private company with a public sector mission to the benefit of the consumer citizen. Eco-emballages allows subscribing companies to fulfill their WPR obligations and to guarantee an environmentally- and socially-efficient implementation of the policy.

Currently, 67% of consumer goods packaging is recycled thanks to the daily good will of millions of French who sort their packaging waste. In order to achieve a 75% recycling rate, Eco-emballages works on the upstream of the recycling chain by engaging all stakeholders – companies, local authorities, associations, and the recycling sector.

The challenge

Over the last 20 years, waste sorting and recycling have become almost a current practice. 87% of the French do it, but only 44% do it systematically. However, a survey carried out for Eco-emballages concluded that those who know about the recycling process (who is involved, how it works, where the waste ends up) actually recycle more: 53% of the French declared that they would recycle more if they could be sure that the packaging waste they sort is actually recycled. Eco-emballages saw an opportunity to reassure consumers about the usefulness of their gesture by increasing the transparency of the recycling chain for consumers.

The satellite solution

For the first time, five pieces of packaging – a glass bottle, a plastic bottle, a cereal box, and two metal cans (aluminum and stainless steel) – were equipped with a GNSS tracking system that allowed a video crew to follow their way to becoming new materials, in real time. Five two-minute web documentaries were filmed, showing web users how the waste got from their homes to the recycling centre in real conditions. The documentaries were complemented with interviews of experts who responded to questions such as: “why does one recycle only glass packaging, but not glass objects? Are new plastic bottles made from recycled plastic bottles?

The result

The campaign is now available online on www.ecoemballages.fr. It includes the five web documentaries, the interviews and extra content on the socio-economic and environmental benefits of recycling. Web users can also ask Mr Butterfly – the campaign mascot – live questions via Facebook Connect.