Culture waste paper punching hitler in the nose

Published on May 17th, 2013 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Recycling: Kinda’ Like Punching Hitler in the Nose

Remember the song “Let’s Do It for Our Country” from Grease 2? It turns out such persuasive approaches really work (and for more than sexual conquest): Robert Long at The New Republic points to a few studies showing that conservatives are more likely to recycle when such activity is tied to values like patriotism.

That’s interesting, but what I really enjoyed in his post were past efforts to tie waste collection and reuse to national pride. For instance, during World War II, paper recycling was portrayed as key to defeating Hitler:

waste paper punching hitler in the nose

The Office of War Information and Public Relations also encouraged scrap metal recycling as part of the war in the Pacific  (warning: lots of racism here):

world war two poster encouraging scrap metal recycling

I don’t know how well these appeals worked then, but the studies Long cites suggests that this may have been a smart approach… and could still work.

Know of other campaigns that appealed to nationalism in order to encourage recycling or other “green” behavior? Share them with us…. I’m fascinated!



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



3 Responses to Recycling: Kinda’ Like Punching Hitler in the Nose

  1. I love this idea, and it’s so spot on. Conservation should be a matter of national pride! We have a beautiful country to call home, and it’s time we started caring for it as if we lived here!

  2. RaulC says:

    Good idea! I think it really works. At least it puts attention to the problem and we begin to discuss the problem, in this case recycling. There must be more banners like this. Probably someone will be against it but it obviously is more effective than simple advertisement.

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