Mentos Taught Raccoons to Recycle Its Paperboard Bottles

Because only one-third of humans recycle at all

Despite endless brand mantras and packaging that tout commitments to Mother Nature, only one-third of Americans recycle. And it's so easy, even a caveman can do it—or in this case, a team of raccoons.

Mentos launched a paperboard gum bottle earlier this year and enlisted four trained raccoons—the Raccoon Recycling Force (RRF)—to find incorrectly disposed Mentos bottles in trash cans and place them in recycling bins.

A 60-second video from Highdive shows Daisy, Kylo, Zoe and Luna, founding members of the RRF, in action.

Mentos | Recycling Raccoons

An animal trainer worked with the raccoons for more than 40 hours to teach them the difference between a trash can and recycling bin. The RRF then let loose in Simi Valley, California, to rifle through trash cans, find paperboard Mentos bottles and daintily place them in recycling cans. The recycling raccoons came through 75 percent of the time—Daisy clearly had other things on her mind.

"Many consumers want to, or say they are interested in recycling but we know only 32 percent of Americans actually recycle," says Craig Cuchra, VP of marketing at Perfetti Van Melle, maker of Mentos. "We realized raccoons are incredibly smart and highly trainable, plus they're already in our trash. In a weird way, it makes perfect sense. I'm just hoping humans can take note of how easy it is to recycle so these Mentos paperboard gum bottles don't go into the waste stream."

Mentos wants to bring the RRF to additional towns and opened a hotline for suggestions on where to clean up next. Text "RACCOONS" to 1-833-RACYCLE by Nov. 26 to nominate your city. Until then, you'll have to settle for watching the force on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

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