Recycled Cause Marketing

Capri Sun, the Kraft Foods brand that packages portable juice drinks in those aluminum-polyethylene pouches has teamed with TerraCycle, the innovative recycler, that promises to keep juice pouches out of the waste stream, while paying schools $0.02 cents per pouch.

[Oops. My bad. That makes it seem like Kraft is actually doing some work here when in fact all the heavy lifting is being done by TerraCycle. That said, Kraft probably paid for this ad in Cookie magazine (and elsewhere) and the attending promotional and PR efforts.]

Here’s how it works. You sign up at TerraCycle and they will send your school four bags. Each bag holds 100 pouches. Fill 'em up and they'll send you more. TerraCycle pays $0.02 cents for each Capri Sun, Honest Kids and Kool Aid pouches. All other pouches pay $0.01 cents per pouch. TerraCycle pays twice a year.

In turn, TerraCycle ‘upcycles’ (their term) the pouches into backpacks, totes and pencil cases. While the materials that comprise the pouches can be repurposed as in TerraCycle's scheme, they can not otherwise be recycled using ordinary means.

You don’t have to think too hard about this to realize that the whole enterprise depends on TerraCycle’s ability to find a market for the pouch-based backpacks, et al.

Back on October 10, 2008 when I reviewed Nestle Waters North America’s school label collection campaign called GoLife, that is similar to this campaign in some respects, I wrote:

I’m all in favor of using cause-related marketing to help companies solve challenging PR issues. But if it’s going to preserve market share Nestle has to do something more holistic than GoLife to counter that perception.

If they can find a market for the resulting products, I think TerraCycle (and Kraft) have solved the problem that Nestle didn’t. And whereas the the GoLife campaign seemed very corporate, Kraft's TerraCycle campaign gives off a much more organic vibe.

I wish ‘em luck. 

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