By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — SALEM — A local child actress and a puppet made of recycled materials have joined forces to promote the city’s mandatory recycling program in a new advertising campaign.
The ads feature Marcella Mukasa, a young actress from the North Shore YMCA Theatre Company, and Quarg, a green puppet operated by local artist Bruce Orr. The two take Salem residents by surprise as they bring their trash out to the curb — and then offer information about local recycling.
“Is this some kind of joke?” asked a resident in one advertisement.
“I assure you, sir, there’s nothing funny about recycling,” replied Mukasa.
The campaign — called “You Gotta Recycle, Buddy” — was partially funded by a grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection and can be seen on YouTube and Salem Access Television. It was produced by creative agency Wolfmantis and directed by Kevin Letourneau, Emma Cavaliere and Gregorgy Glenn.
Also featured in the ads are Sean Revoltah, owner of the Comida Mexican Taqueria on Essex Street, and Peter Murphy, a tour guide at the Salem Witch Museum.
The aim of the campaign is to encourage recycling.
“The more residents and businesses recycle in Salem, the more our city will realize significant savings,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said in a press release.
Recycling became mandatory in Salem on Oct. 1. Residents are required to place their recycling curbside in a designated container at the same time they put out their trash. Paper and cardboard is supposed to be placed in one bin, and other recyclables placed together in a second bin.
Property owners can be fined if residents fail to comply with the program for more than two consecutive weeks.
Removing trash costs the city more than $60 per ton, which is roughly the amount an average person produces each year, according to the release. “However, when recycled properly, the city pays nothing to remove plastic, metal and glass, and sells the paper and cardboard for over $20 per ton,” the release said.
You can watch the ads at www.recyclebuddy.tumblr.com or follow @recyclebuddy on Twitter.
Neil Dempsey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.