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Posted: June 7, 2009 12:00 a.m.

You gotta be kidding campaign

Soon some real characters will be showing up on the local scene and around Georgia. Tommy Krenshaw, or "Flat Tommy", as Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful (KCNB) affectionately calls him, will reach star status as he and his reasons for not recycling take center stage in a new statewide education campaign.

Those who know Tommy will not be surprised that he is receiving so much attention. During his act, Tommy proclaims to all that he will find a new planet when this one fills up with the materials that he and others refused to recycle. He has also begun wearing his non-recycler status on a T-shirt, in case anyone missed his excuse. If this situation sounds absurd, then the campaign has achieved its mission.

Tommy is just one of several unwitting characters that are part of a new recycling awareness campaign created by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The campaign shines a humorous spotlight on Tommy's explanations and other misperceptions about recycling. By highlighting the sometimes-hilarious reasons for not recycling, the campaign responds on behalf of those of us who do recycle with, "You gotta be kidding!" KCNB encourages everyone to check out the campaign's Web site: www.YouGottabeKidding.org.

"Every time someone passes by a recycling bin or chooses to throw a can away, they're effectively saying, ‘I don't recycle,'" said Randy Hartmann, director of the Office of Environmental Management. "What we're saying is that these excuses for not recycling just don't cut it when you know the facts."

Through a media relations and marketing campaign, DCA will invite Georgia residents to the campaign Web site where facts about recycling are posted. This campaign targets all non-recyclers, but particularly 25- to 34-year-olds. Research reveals people in this age group are the least likely to recycle, but they are potentially the easiest to motivate.

More non-recycling characters will be introduced into the campaign by the state during the coming month. They will all sport "I don't recycle!" T-shirts. KCNB's hope is that the buzz created by these characters will encourage non-recyclers to get the facts and try out recycling in their own households.

"The absurd nature of what these campaign characters say contrasts sharply with the many logical reasons to recycle," adds Hartmann. "Because, unlike what Tommy may say, we can't just find another planet to live on when we have used up our natural resources. People interacting with the campaign will come away thinking that, in light of these silly alternatives, recycling is a pretty simple proposition."

The need for the campaign came from a solid waste characterization study that revealed that approximately 40 percent of what Georgians throw away is actually recyclable. These findings were amplified by a recent DCA survey that showed a whopping 45 percent of Georgians do not regularly recycle.

KCNB Director, Connie Waller, reminds us, "Recycling is one simple thing that each of us can do to make a significant difference for the environment."

See more of the campaign at www.YouGottaBeKidding.org.

"‘I'm dating my ex. Does that count as recycling?' is certainly not the type of slogan you'd expect to see in a state's marketing campaign," Hartmann said, "and that's the point."

For more information on Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful programs, contact KCNB at 770-784-2015 or kcnb@co.newton.ga.us.


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