Wrigley China recycles packaging to create plastic desks and chairs for hundreds of under privileged children
In China, Wrigley’s EXTRA® Brand gum is available in traditional stick packs, refillable bags and little plastic bottles. The bottles are a popular choice and are increasingly environmentally-conscious. Today’s bottle pack uses 50 percent less plastic than the first generation package which launched in 2004. So, when EXTRA® consumers asked if Wrigley China would consider recycling the empty containers, the answer was a resounding, “Yes!” But it didn’t stop there.
On World Earth Day this year, the EXTRA® brand team in China, with support from Corporate Affairs and Sales, initiated a program to “turn waste into hope” for hundreds of under privileged children. “The EXTRA® Recycling Hope project collects empty gum bottles from consumers and uses the recycled plastic to make desks and chairs,” explained Julie Li, Communications Manager, Corporate Affairs, Wrigley China. “The EXTRA® Recycling Hope Team donates the desk and chair sets to Wrigley Hope Schools across China, giving impoverished children a better learning environment.” she commented
To pilot the program, Wrigley China worked with 70 Wal-Mart stores, which inspired other organizations to lend a helping hand. The EXTRA® Recycling Hope Team supplied collection bins, Wal-Mart provided store space, and both companies promoted the effort with dedicated in-store activities. “We also involved our associates to join this meaningful campaign through internal engagement activities,” said Julie.
The results were impressive: the team collected more than 175,000 EXTRA® bottles, which were made into 200 desk and chair sets and presented to the excited students at the Ankang Hope School (sponsored by the Wrigley Foundation) in September.
A second recycling pilot is now rolling out “with the goal of understanding how to collect bottles more cost efficiently and drive even better consumer awareness,” said Helena Wong, Wrigley China’s EXTRA® Brand Manager. “We’ll also be looking at how else we might use the recycled materials to help others.” she added.
Leveraging the learning’s from both pilots, the project team plans to kick off EXTRA® Recycling Hope 2012 with a broader campaign to reach even more customers. “This will be a key EXTRA® brand initiative in 2012,” said Helena. “It’s a project full of love. And where there is love, there is always hope of a better future.”