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Mentos Trained Raccoons To Recycle Paperboard Gum Bottles


Erlanger, Kentucky-based Mentos has lauched a paperboard gum bottle that was made to be recycled, and is using raccoons to increase awareness of the need to recycle in the U.S. 

According to a recent study, 32 percent of Americans recycle, despite the fact that 78 percent of the population is more likely to purchase a product that is labeled as environmentally friendly. 

Mentos is tackling the problem with raccoons. Dubbed the Mentos Raccoon Recycling Force, these critters recently completed a mission in Simi Valley, California, by digging through trash cans and placing the paperboard gum bottles in the recycling.

More than 40 hours of expert training by animal trainers, four raccoons were able to learn the difference between a recycling bin and a trash bin.

The Mentos Raccoon Recycling Force can recycle 75 percent of the time, compared to 32 percent of Americans. “The results were not surprising,” said Crystal Chen, raccoon trainer at Working Wildlife. “Raccoons are actually 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 so these Mentos paperboard gum bottles don’t go into the waste stream.”

With beta testing still underway, the Raccoon Recycling Force is seeking suggestions on where to take their recycling talents next and has opened up the official Mentos RRF hotline. Fans are encouraged to text “RACCOONS” to 1-833-RACYCLE by Nov. 26 if they wish to bring the taskforce to a city near them.

Consumers can also take and share the official pledge to recycle their Mentos paperboard gum bottles on TikTok and Instagram. As a bonus, those who follow the official Mentos account on Instagram and leave a comment with “I pledge to recycle” and #sweepstakes will be entered for a chance to win exclusive Raccoon Recycling Force merchandise, including hats, T-shirts and pins. 

“At Mentos, we know we must do our part to help lessen our environmental impact and are constantly looking for new ways to improve our product packaging and achieve our plastics reduction, recycling and re-use goals,” said Craig Cuchra, VP of marketing at Perfetti Van Melle, maker of Mentos.

“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.”

Mentos announced U.S. consumers can get its Mentos Pure Fresh Gum, packaged in a 90 percent paperboard bottle that is recyclable, in February. The paperboard gum bottles come in two flavors, Fresh Mint and Spearmint, and are available wherever chewing gum is sold.

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