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Georgia Resident Plans to Find New Planet Instead of Recycling

New statewide education campaign kicks off with unique approach spotlighting non-recyclers

ATLANTA, June 1, 2009 /PRNewswire/ — Georgia non-recycler, Tommy Krenshaw reaches star status this week as he and his reason for not recycling take center stage in a new statewide education campaign. Those who know Tommy will not be surprised that he is receiving notoriety. He proudly proclaims to all who will listen that he will find a new planet when this one fills up with the materials he and others like him refuse to recycle. He has also taken to wearing his non-recycler status on his T-shirt, in case you missed his excuse.

Sound absurd? Well, mission accomplished. Tommy is just one of the unwitting (albeit fictitious) characters of a new recycling awareness campaign created by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). The campaign shines a spotlight on these, and other misperceptions to show what non-recyclers might look like to their friends and families. By highlighting the absurdities behind not recycling, the campaign responds on behalf of the rest of us with "you gotta be kidding!" (Incidentally, the URL for the campaign is www.YouGottaBekidding.org.)

"Every time someone bypasses a recycling bin or chooses to throw a can away," Randy Hartmann, the Director of the Office of Environmental Management of DCA explains, "they're effectively saying, 'I don't recycle!' They're wearing their apathy on their sleeve. What we're saying, is that these excuses won't work anymore."

Joining Tommy are several others characters, all of whom have mistaken and ridiculous reasons for not recycling. Maria Inez-Phillips is one such non-recycler. She can't be bothered to sort through her trash and pull out the recyclable items. After all, she gets way too many gossip magazines to have to wade through them all.

More non-recyclers will be introduced by the state over the coming months. All will be wearing "I don't recycle" on their T-shirts, an unusual move designed to break through the media clutter by first entertaining, then creating a buzz that will drive people to the campaign Web site where DCA has a better chance of presenting the myriad reasons to recycle.

"The absurd nature of what these characters say contrasts sharply with the many rational reasons to recycle," adds Hartmann. "Because, unlike what Tommy may say, we can't just find somewhere else to live when we have used up our natural resources. People interacting with the campaign will come away thinking that, in light of these preposterous alternatives, recycling is a pretty simple proposition."

The need for the campaign came from a Solid Waste Characterization Study which revealed that approximately 40 percent of what Georgians throw away is actually recyclable. These findings were amplified by a recent DCA survey which showed that a whopping 45 percent of Georgians do not regularly recycle.

"'I'm dating my ex, does that count as recycling?' is certainly not the type of slogan you'd expect to see in a state's marketing campaign," Hartmann says, "and that's the point."

Through a media relations and marketing campaign kicking off today, DCA will drive Georgia residents to the campaign Web site where the real facts about recycling will be presented in a way that resonates and drives real action. The campaign will target all non-recyclers, but with a special focus on the 25- to 34-year-old group. Research revealed that this group is the least likely to recycle, but also tend to be the easiest to motivate. Local communities will also take part in the campaign, bringing the characters to life through billboards, in a radio PSA, on coasters in restaurants and in many other ways.

See more of the campaign at www.YouGottaBeKidding.org. And don't be surprised if you see a life-size Tommy popping up conspicuously in towns and cities across Georgia as just one of many ways these characters will be revealing themselves!

About the Campaign: The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Office of Environmental Management has created a statewide awareness campaign to boost recycling in the state and keep valuable recyclable materials out of the landfills and in Georgia's local mills and factories. The campaign is designed to raise awareness about the convenience and benefits of recycling, while also motivating behavior change among our target audience, 25- to 34-year-olds.

About DCA: The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) was created in 1977 to serve as an advocate for local governments. As outlined in its mission statement, DCA seeks opportunities that support "partnering with communities to help create a climate of success for Georgia's families and businesses." DCA operates a host of state and federal grant programs; serves as the state's lead agency in housing finance and development; promulgates building codes to be adopted by local governments; provides comprehensive planning, technical and research assistance to local governments; and serves as the lead agency for the state's solid waste reduction efforts.

Press Contact:

Laura Mulhern
Hill & Knowlton
(813) 775-6209