Nestle Waters launches Instagram recycling 'hotline'

Photo of Paul Schott

STAMFORD — Fewer than 30 percent of plastic bottles are recycled in the United States. The maker of one of the most-popular bottled-water brands says it has identified one of the main reasons: customer confusion.

To elucidate the process, Nestle Waters North America Poland Spring water and the nonprofit The Recycling Partnership have launched an Instagram-based “hotline” to answer recycling questions. On the social-media platform, consumers can post a photo of an item on their feed or Stories, tagging #NotTrash and @PolandSpringWtr, to ask for help in determining whether the product can be recycled.

“What we’re hearing is that consumers are concerned and confused about plastic bottles,” Yumiko Clevenger-Lee, Nestle Waters North America’s vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “So, we’re working on innovations like our recently launched and nationally available Poland Spring Origin (product) in a 100 percent recycled plastic bottle. And we’re taking it a step further by working with organizations like The Recycling Partnership to help remove some of the confusion about recycling.”

To promote the initiative, the company has partnered with the nationally syndicated radio program “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show.”

Every time listeners post a photo on Instagram’s Stories or their feed of them recycling an emptied bottle with the cap on or posting a question relating to what can be recycled, and tagging #NotTrash and @PolandSpringWtr, Nestle Waters will donate a dollar for each post, up to $25,000, to The Recycling Partnership.

Launched Monday and running until Aug. 23, the promotion is airing across the show’s network of 75 affiliate stations.

In addition, Poland Spring is making a separate $150,000 donation to The Recycling Partnership.

“Consumers play a critical role in reducing waste and improving markets for recyclable materials by recycling properly,” Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership, said in a statement. “Debunking common recycling myths empowers residents to do their part to recycle better, which improves their local recycling programs, helps create a healthier U.S. recycling system, and is good for the planet.”

Officials at Stamford-based Nestle Waters said they have already made reducing the environmental footprint of their products a top priority.

Poland Spring’s current packaging, which is made from “PET” polyethylene plastic, is entirely recyclable.

In June, the brand committed to producing all its individual-sized, still-water bottles with 100 percent recycled plastic by 2022. The conversion has started with the one-liter and 1.5-liter versions being made to that standard.

Poland Spring is also expanding How2Recycle labels across its packaging, to remind consumers to empty their bottles, then “replace” the caps by screwing them back on the bottles and recycle them when they’re done.

In addition, Nestlé Waters North America has reported contributing some $6 million to the $100 million Closed Loop investment fund, which supports recycling and infrastructure and programs across the country.; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott