Case Study

Using Digital to Build Community and Encourage Carton Recycling

Carton Council Of North America

The Challenge

Carton Council of North America (CCNA) is an industry organization committed to growing carton recycling in the U.S. When CCNA first started, only 18% of U.S. households had access to carton recycling. Now 62% of households – more than 78 million – can recycle their cartons via local recycling programs. Despite a large increase in U.S. households’ access to carton recycling, there is still a need to grow the movement to increase the number of people committed to recycling their cartons.

Since 2014, Fenton has helped CCNA build an engaged community online and raise awareness about why carton recycling is important. We’ve executed multi-channel digital education and engagement campaigns to grow Carton Council’s digital footprint and online community so more consumers can gain access to information on carton recycling and ultimately help increase the number of people committed to recycling their cartons.

Our Approach

In order to increase awareness of carton recycling and build CCNA’s online community, Fenton deployed a robust digital campaign to reach national audiences online with a steady drumbeat of social media content, emails and paid media efforts.

Fenton’s digital strategy and messaging for the campaign were informed by consumer survey data that included key behavioral insights into factors that play into recycling decisions. Fenton used this data to develop strategic messaging that resonates and increases audiences’ favorability or likelihood to recycle their cartons.

Fenton’s organic social media and email strategy focused on increasing awareness and engagement with audiences to develop and grow an online community of avid carton recyclers. Content for both of these programs focused on improving the adoption of carton recycling by providing clear instructions, resources and tips on how to recycle cartons right. Fenton tapped into relevant cultural moments, hashtags and trends on social media, identifying opportunities to insert carton recycling into conversations online and expand our reach even further.

In addition to maintaining a steady posting cadence on Instagram and Facebook, Fenton led a community management strategy for CCNA. This included encouraging audiences to join and share in the Carton Champion Facebook Group, an online community of individuals passionate about carton recycling. CCNA was able to use this group to share the latest carton recycling news and information, answer questions and ensure that community members have accurate carton recycling information in their neighborhoods.

Lastly, Fenton developed and executed a paid media awareness campaign using advertisements placed on the Google Display Network to expand our reach with broader audiences, increase awareness and engage consumers across cities in the U.S. where carton recycling is available. Video and static creative formats were used to demonstrate how food and beverage cartons can be recycled into household paper products. We tested four unique ads to provide greater insight into what content and messaging generated the greatest engagement with audiences.


Fenton’s multi-channel digital education and engagement campaigns successfully reached national audiences, growing CCNA’s digital footprint and deepening engagement with online communities. Our organic social media strategy generated above industry-standard engagement rates across Facebook at 3.2% and Instagram at 3.7%. Most notably, on Facebook, CCNA now has over 47,000 page likes and almost 1,000 members in the Carton Recycling Champions Facebook group.

CCNA continues to have a highly engaged email program, generating 23% open rates and 9% click rates, which is on par with nonprofit industry standards.

In addition to maintaining an influx of engaging content across social media channels and through email, Fenton’s successful paid media awareness campaign generated over 3 million impressions, resulting in a click-through rate almost twice the industry average at .71% and almost 22,000 clicks to the Carton Council website. The testing facilitated during this campaign provided meaningful insight into the most engaging content, wherein we learned that video content featuring real people interacting with cartons during everyday activities generated the highest levels of engagement. We have since integrated creative insights from this paid campaign into our organic social media strategy to continue developing and sharing the most effective creative to encourage engagement.

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