The American Plastics Council launched its first statewide recycling promotional campaign in California on June 28, building on smaller efforts that APC said boosted recycling in some communities by 20 percent.
The APC effort, a partnership with the California Integrated Waste Management Board and several trade associations, includes plastics-recycling-specific messages at 480 Albertson's grocery stores throughout the state, events at several zoos and radio and television advertising.
The total price tag is relatively modest - $210,000. By comparison, the California Department of Conservation is spending $10 million this year on recycling promotion.
While the message is outwardly simple and straightforward, it does carry some political undercurrents: It's designed to show that APC's ``all-bottles'' recycling plan can work as an alternative to container deposits. Plastic recycling rates in California have been falling for several years, drawing the attention of regulators and legislators.
``We have this existing infrastructure and it's being underutilized,'' said Tim Shestek, manager of state and local public affairs for Arlington, Va.-based APC. ``The all-bottles concept that has been promoted nationally and in some communities ... that is what we are trying to accomplish here.''
The campaign reminds consumers to recycle plastic shampoo, mouthwash, detergent and cleaning products they otherwise might put in the trash.
APC is spending about $150,000, while the Waste Board is putting in $40,000, and other associations are picking up the rest.
Shestek said the effort last year, which was limited to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area, saw most communities increase their plastic bottles collected for recycling, in the range of 13 percent to the high 20s, he said. Marin County saw a 6 percent decrease for reasons that are not clear, he said.
While APC hopes for more increases in plastic collected this year, Shestek said budget tightening at APC means the group is doing the statewide campaign with the same budget as last year's more geographically limited effort.