Why Recycle? Because Your Trash Has Big Dreams, Says New Campaign

Did you know that your soda can aspires to become part of a sports stadium and your empty plastic bottle dreams of contributing to an ocean-side park bench? Well, they do, and you can help them reach their lofty goals by doing one simple thing: recycling them.

At least that’s the message sent by Pereira & O’Dell‘s new pro-bono campaign for the Ad Council and Keep American Beautiful, “I Want to Be Recycled.”

The PSA featuring the bottle opens with the evocative line, “They said I couldn’t dream. Called me a piece of trash and swore that’s all I’d ever be.” The viewer then watches this tenacious little dreamer overcome its seemingly hopeless start inside a trash can, and follows it across city streets, down lonely highways, and through rugged terrain until it finally reaches its destination and becomes what it “always wanted to be.” The spot ends with the tag line “Give your garbage another life. Recycle,” and shows the address for IWantToBeRecycled.org.

Basically, think “Where the Heart Is” condensed into 30 seconds and starring a milk bottle instead of Natalie Portman.

We found the spot creative and surprisingly powerful considering the inanimate nature of its main character. While on one hand we realize there’s only so much sympathy people may be able to muster for non-living things (a person delivering the same line about being called “trash” may be more powerful than a bottle saying it), we can’t help thinking about movies like “The Brave Little Toaster” and “Toy Story” — when done correctly, we humans seem capable of seeing ourselves in just about anything, and few sentiments are more archetypally human than the idea of overcoming circumstance to reach a seemingly untouchable goal and achieve a kind of rebirth.