Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.

1. Forever Shoe

Teva has partnered with TerraCycle to create a ‘forever’ shoe recycling program. Why should you care? Customers will be able to mail in their old Tevas to TerraCycle at no cost – to be cleaned, broken down and processed for new purposes such as playground surfaces, athletic fields, and track grounds. This is in addition to Teva using only recycled yarn for their sandal straps beginning in 2020. We’re applauding Teva for its style and sustainability initiatives. [Gear Junkie]

2. CDC Contest

The CDC will pay you $500K to design a better mask. Why should you care? We all know the importance of face mask protection in the fight against COVID-19, but as many of us have found – they are sometimes poorly designed which can lead to terrible fits, foggy glasses, maskne – among other things. That’s why the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health under the CDC and Department of Health and Human Services, is calling all inventors to “build tomorrow’s mask.” Though most of the world is suffering from COVID fatigue, this contest signals that mask-wearing and the pandemic are still a long way from being over. [Fast Company]

3. Stealing Legos

People are stealing Legos. Why should you care? Lego larceny is on the rise with French police investigating an international ring of toy thieves specifically interested in these miniature colorful blocks, with intentions of reselling them in Poland. These Lego crimes are not exclusive to Europe, as a man in the U.S. was arrested last month for stealing $7,500 worth of Legos. Lego specialist Gerben van IJken speculates there could be a  black market for Legos with resale values of $3,000+ for an unopened set. Van IJken adds that the pandemic could be a driving force behind the uptick of these Lego crimes, especially during the lockdown periods where Lego sales saw an increase of 100%. [NPR]

4. Beauty Inclusion

Unilever is planning to strip ‘normal’ from all its beauty products and advertising. Why should you care? Unilever is removing any mention of the term ‘normal’ from its products and advertising in a mission to be more inclusive. This affects over 200 beauty and self-care products in total (e.g. shampoo bottles that say ‘normal to oily hair’ or lotion that states ‘for normal skin’) and revisions will apply to brand messaging as well. In today’s world of inclusivity, it’s one thing to say something is important and another to actually operationalize on it. [Washington Post]

5. Smart Mask

Rapper will.i.am is selling a smart mask for $299. Why should you care? The rapper partnered with Honeywell to create the XUPERMASK that includes some very extra add-ons. XUPERMASK will come equipped with dual three-speed fans, HEPA filters, Bluetooth connectivity, LED day glow lights, noise-canceling audio and microphone capabilities, seven hours of battery life and a magnetic earbud docking system. Somebody CC the CDC mask contest because this sure sounds like the mask of tomorrow, albeit with a very hefty price tag. [CNN]

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