How To Recycle Trash

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  • Consumers are relying on companies to produce items responsibly and make it easier for them to get ... [+] the items they need while limiting the harm to the environment.

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    The average U.S. consumer creates five pounds of trash every day. Over a year, that adds up to 1,642 pounds per person.  

    It’s a number most people want to change. 

    Much of that trash comes from packaging and plastic—not to mention the waste created from the manufactured goods people buy every day. 

    Consumers face a dilemma—they want to do good to help the environment, but they don’t have time to research every item they purchase to ensure it is sustainably and ethically made. One recent survey found that 65% of consumers want to buy from sustainable, purpose-driven brands, but only 26% actually do. A large part of that disconnect is the time and overwhelm of finding the best products.  

    That’s where companies come in. Consumers are relying on companies to produce items responsibly and make it easier for them to get the items they need while limiting the harm to the environment. 

    Increasingly, companies are getting creative and turning trash and recycled items into new products.  

    Making the most of trash can move items destined for landfills into the hands of eager customers. For as much as consumers may claim to care about the environment, they still want to buy nice things. Recycling items and turning trash into new products could be the balance we need between retail and the environment. 

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    One person’s trash really can be another person’s treasure—but it’s up to brands to recycle items. 

    Recycling Used Goods

    The resell and thrifting industry is a huge opportunity for brands and the environment. If everybody bought one used item this year instead of buying new, it would save 449 million pounds of waste. The resale market as a whole is expected to grow to $64 billion by 2025. In 2019, the resale market grew 25 times faster than the overall retail market. Many brands are using the momentum to start their own recycled goods programs. 

    Lululemon recently started testing a trade-in program where customers can return gently used Lululemon items to select stores in exchange for a gift card. Those items are then sold at a discount online through the store’s Like New program. All items are cleaned before being resold, and items that don’t meet Lululemon’s quality standards are recycled. 

    Nike is also starting a buyback program for gently used shoes. There’s a huge demand for rare Nike shoes, and customers will soon be able to turn in their gently used or flawed shoes at select stores, which will then be cleaned and resold at a discount. 

    Lululemon and Nike are just the latest in a string of retailers offering incentives to customers and reselling gently used items. In 2019, Levi’s started a buyback program called SecondHand where customers can trade in gently used jeans and clothing items for a gift card. The items are then cleaned and resold online. Other stores, including Patagonia and North Face, have been reselling items for years. 

    Even Ikea is jumping on the resell train with the announcement it will buy back unwanted furniture and sell it at a discount.

    Trade-in programs are great for all customers—it motivates customers to trade in their used items and make another purchase, and it gives other customers a chance to buy discounted items and help the environment. 

     

    Creating Products From Trash

    While some companies are reselling gently used items, other companies are taking recycled goods and turning them into completely new products to sell. 

    Nike’s Space Hippie shoes are made completely of factory scraps, including everything from extra material to leftover packaging. The goal of the shoes is to come full circle, back to the materials they originally created. The Space Hippie collection has the lowest carbon footprint of any Nike footwear ever made. 

    Rothy’s makes shoes and bags completely out of recycled plastic and water bottles with a unique 3D printing process that cuts down on waste. As of 2020, the company has repurposed more than 50 million water bottles

    A growing number of companies across all industries are manufacturing their goods completely out of recycled materials and plastic—Green Toys makes 100% recycled plastic kids toys, Dakine does it with backpacks, All Birds makes recycled shoes and even Saalt Period Underwear makes its products out of recycled water bottles. These companies are all turning materials that would likely otherwise end up in landfills into high-quality goods—and making good profits doing it.

    Consumers want to do their part to help the environment. Recycling products and materials helps both sides—it cuts down on manufacturing waste for companies and helps consumers get items out of landfills. Making a real change in the environment requires this creativity and partnership between customers and brands. 

    Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of the bestselling book 

    The Customer Of The Future. Be part of the brand new 

    Customer Experience Community strong data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://education.blakemichellemorgan.com/customer-experience-community"">>here.

    Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2021/09/21/how-companies-are-turning-trash-into-products-and-profits/

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