Cookie Settings
We use cookies on your device to enhance your experience. Some information may be shared with third parties.


Recycle Everywhere’s high public awareness wasn’t making a difference in their recovery rate numbers. Find out how Show and Tell turned their results around.


The Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) was established in 2010 with a government mandate to increase beverage container recycling in Manitoba to at least a 75% recovery rate, a considerable jump from the 42% it was facing.

Thanks to an effective media strategy, CBCRA’s Recycle Everywhere campaign and its catchy audio tag became widely visible and well known. However, recovery rates peaked at 53%: significantly lower than projections or comparable progress from other jurisdictions.

The critical gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’.

Public-opinion research showed us that, while awareness of the campaign was demonstrable, engagement with the message was lacking. People knew what to do, but not why they should care.

Interviews and surveys also indicated that Manitobans faced multiple barriers when it came to recycling, including confusion about what could be recycled or where products ended up. Campaigns would need to pinpoint and address these obstacles, turning them into onramps for more relatable and engaging messaging.

It was also clear that the closer we brought CBCRA to their goal, the more difficult subsequent gains would become.

Recycle everywhere


Over the span of 10 years, we created several strategic approaches and campaign messages to encourage an increase in both recovery rates and brand awareness. Each approach was research-informed – taking into account the most significant recycling barriers Manitobans would cite while maintaining the previous years’ increases in recovery.

Phase 1 leveraged research that showed people were more likely to recycle if they understood where those recyclables went. An evocative, transformation-themed visual in out-of-home, print and digital ads answered audiences’ questions clearly and dramatically.

Communications support for this phase set the scene for future work. News, media coverage, paid ad campaigns and annual reports celebrated CBCRA’s recovery improvement, year-over-year. Sports-team partnerships, educational programs, contests, activations, and free collateral like mini recycling bins helped build excitement and affinity while weaving the Recycle Everywhere brand into people’s lives.

Phase 1 A
Phase 1 B

Phase 2 creative cleared up confusion on what could be recycled using marketing tropes that people instantly associated with specific types of beverages.

This phase was supported by educational videos that showed audiences what happened to their recyclables alongside at-home recycling-reminder magnets and direct mail material.

Phase 2

Phase 3 built on Recycle Everywhere’s well-established identity to humorously target audiences who research indicated were overreporting their recycling. Digital geofencing was directed at people in apartments, office complexes and other higher density or multi-family buildings – environments that needed extra encouragement and infrastructure to recycle properly.

This phase also leveraged an independent audit that proved increased recycling infrastructure reduced litter.

Phase 3

In Phase 4, we leveraged the research insight that indicated that different demographic groups had very different barriers to recycling – and consumed different media. Our solution: a number of audience-specific campaigns that varied in tone (from the absurd, to the extreme, to the emotional), all anchored by a single call to action: do ‘whatever it takes’ to recycle every beverage container.

This phase included a 3-minute documentary about a young, local recycler; an interactive activation that used a remote-controlled recycling bin to intercept people in public places; and a series of quick-hit stunt videos aimed at a younger audience.

Phase 5 responded to the plateau other jurisdictions were experiencing by improving the habits of audiences that were already engaged. The creative positioned beverage containers as ‘heroes,’ focused on overly optimistic but damaging “wish-cycling” and introduced the vernacular of ‘contamination’ (cast as the foil to our recycling heroes) into the Manitoba market.

Phase 6

For Phase 6, in response to COVID-19 lockdowns, we invested more resources into digital and social media ads, educational videos and interactive quizzes. As lockdowns limited live video production opportunities, our video assets were conceived as fully animated spots or used existing and stock footage.

We also we created a CBCRA-run social-media food drive to collect donations during lockdown.

Ad 1
Ad 2
Ad 3

In Phase 7, Show and Tell introduced a new creative direction for Recycle Everywhere with the “Close the Loop” campaign. This coincided with two other organizational initiatives: a brand refresh for Recycle Everywhere and CBCRA; and the launch and promotion of the new Recycle Everywhere mobile app (with an accompanying prize campaign for new users).

Ad 4


Over our 10-year history with CBCRA, we helped them increase Manitoba’s recycling recovery rate by 36% over baseline and 20% overall – one of the largest such increases in North America, including the largest single-year increase in Canada in our first year.

Phase 1 – 2013:
  • From 53% to 61% beverage container recycling recovery – largest 1 year increase in Canada.
  • 78% brand awareness.
Phase 2 – 2014:
  • 64% beverage container recycling recovery.
Phase 3 – 2015/2016
  • 70% beverage container recycling recovery.
  • 82% unaided recall.
  • 86% of respondents agreed that they “have a personal responsibility to recycle.”
Phase 4 – 2017/2018:
  • 70% beverage container recycling recovery.
  • The announcement of a 70% recovery rate resulted in 1 million total earned media impressions. 92% of website traffic was from new visitors. 90% brand awareness.
Phase 5 – 2019:
  • 68% beverage container recycling recovery rate.
  • 89% brand awareness.
Phase 6 – 2020:
  • 71% beverage container recycling recovery rate.
Phase 7 – 2021/2022:
  • 72% beverage container recycling recovery rate (a 36% increase over baseline since The Show and Tell Agency’s engagement)

By the end of our 10-year engagement, Show and Tell had helped CBCRA reach its highest recycling recovery rate on record: 72% for beverage containers, including 80% for plastic containers. Recycle Everywhere also achieved its highest level of brand awareness at 90%.

In addition to our impact on recycling recovery, Show and Tell ushered in the successful introduction of the Recycle Everywhere app, which garnered 25,000 user downloads.

Ready for long-term success that changes minds and inspires action?

Let’s chat