Mentos Trained a Team of Real Raccoons to Recycle Its Mentos Paperboard Gum Bottles

Mentos Trained a Team of Real Raccoons to Recycle Its Mentos Paperboard Gum Bottles

Following Mentos’ Successful Beta Test of Recycling Raccoons, Cities Across America Can Text the Raccoon Recycling Force Hotline to Inquire About the Squad Coming to a Town Near You

 ERLANGER, Ky. – The Mentos paperboard gum bottle was made to be recycled, there’s just one problem: only 32% of Americans* actually recycle, despite that 78% of the population are more likely to purchase a product that is clearly labeled as environmentally friendly**. Mentos is helping to tackle that problem head-on with the only logical solution to pick up the slack: raccoons. Dubbed the Mentos Racoon Recycling Force (RRF), these little critters just completed a successful mission on the streets of Simi Valley, California by digging through trash cans and placing the paperboard gum bottles in the recycling.

How did Mentos do it you ask? More than 40 hours of expert training and a great deal of motivational pep talks given by one of the top animal trainers Mentos could find. It started by training four raccoons to learn the difference between a recycling bin and a trash bin, and they took it from there with the use of tons of tasty fruits and veggies.

After conducting several real-world tests with the raccoon taskforce, the results are in: The Mentos Raccoon Recycling Force can recycle 75% of the time, compared to just 32% of Americans. “The results were not surprising,” says Crystal Chen, Raccoon Trainer at Working Wildlife. “Raccoons are actually incredibly smart and highly trainable, plus they’re already in our trash. In a weird way, it makes perfect sense. I’m just hoping humans can take note so these Mentos paperboard gum bottles don’t go into the waste stream!”

With beta testing still underway, the Raccoon Recycling Force is seeking suggestions on where to take their recycling talents next and has opened up the official Mentos RRF hotline. Fans of chewing gum everywhere are encouraged to text “RACCOONS” to 1-833-RACYCLE† by November 26, 2022 if they wish to bring the taskforce to a city/town near them. In the meantime, please don’t try to train raccoons yourself. Let’s leave that to the professional animal trainers with years of experience and pockets full of treats.

Fans can also take and share the official RRF pledge to properly recycle their Mentos paperboard gum bottles on TikTok and Instagram. As a bonus, those who follow the official Mentos account on Instagram, @MentosUS and leave a comment with “I pledge yes” and #sweepstakes will be entered for a chance to win exclusive Raccoon Recycling Force merchandise, including hats, t-shirts, pins, and more! ‡ Humans may not be as cute as raccoons, but Mentos knows they are just as capable. So be sure to follow Mentos on Instagram and TikTok to learn more.

“At Mentos, we know we must do our part to help lessen our environmental impact and are constantly looking for new ways to improve our product packaging and achieve our plastics reduction, recycling and re-use goals,” says Craig Cuchra, VP of Marketing at Perfetti Van Melle, maker of Mentos. “Working with the Raccoon Recycling Force is a fun way to highlight how we can all do a little bit better, while learning from such an adorable and talented pack of creatures.”

Mentos first announced U.S. consumers can get its popular Mentos Pure Fresh Gum, packaged in an innovative 90% paperboard bottle that is widely recyclable this past February. The paperboard gum bottles come in two flavors, Fresh Mint and Spearmint, and are available nationally where chewing gum is sold.

*Based on EPA Reports compiled from state and local waste characterization studies. Last updated July 14, 2022.

**Based on Green Print Survey The survey was fielded from February 15 to February 16, 2021 among a demographically balanced nationally representative sample of 1,017 U.S. adults 18 years of age and older

†Msg. & dates may apply. Reply STOP to cancel.

‡NO PURCH. NEC. Ends 10/17/2022. Open to legal res. of US (incl. DC); 18+. Up to 150 winners. Max. prize value: $34.85. Odds vary. Limit: 1 entry/person. Void where prohibited. For restrictions, prize information, and Official Rules: Sponsor: Perfetti van Melle USA Inc., 3645 Turfway Rd., Erlanger, KY 41018.


About Mentos

Mentos is 1 of the 5 most popular refreshment candy brands in the world. It’s available in 160+ countries, providing refreshments to millions of consumers every day with a variety of gum, candy, and mint offerings. In the U.S. Mentos Gum has been the 2nd fastest growing gum brand over the past 52 weeks*, has the highest gum loyalty**and is now the *#4 gum brand in the U.S. chewing gum category***. In the U.S. mints category, Mentos is the most well-known brand**** with an iconic heritage that carries on with today’s consumers through YouTube and social media. Visit to see current Mentos products and how we encourage everyone to embrace the unexpected and say yes to Mentos freshness and fun. Sources: *IRI MULOC, 52 weeks ending 9/5/22 **IRI, MULO 52 weeks ending 9/5/2022, ***IRI MULOC 26 weeks ending 1/31/2021; *****Kantar Brand Health Tracker, December 2020.

About Perfetti Van Melle

Perfetti Van Melle Benelux B.V. is a privately-owned global company established in March 2001 through the merger of Perfetti SpA and Van Melle B.V. Perfetti Van Melle manufactures and markets confectionery and chewing gum products in more than 150 countries. Today Perfetti Van Melle is one of the world’s largest confectionery groups, marketing highly renowned brands such as Mentos, Frisk, Chupa Chups, Smint, Fruit-tella, Alpenliebe, Golia, Vivident, Airheads, Happydent & Big Babol. The Group has corporate headquarters in Italy and The Netherlands. U.S. operations are solely out of Erlanger, KY.