Recycling and conservation have long been buzzwords, but it feels like increasingly our society is focusing on taking action rather than just talking. We’re seeing an increase in conservation efforts both from consumers and companies alike.  So why does this movement matter?  As it continues to gain momentum people are going to change the way they buy products which will in turn change the way that companies sell to them.  Conservation and shifting mindsets are going to be impactful, so with that in mind here are 3 conservation trends your brand should know.

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Trend #1 More and more people are saying goodbye to plastics

Plastics are so commonplace and integrated into our lives that we often don’t even give a second thought when we buy products in plastic packaging or use straws in our beverages.  That’s all starting to change with a new trend that is gaining traction and spreading through social media.  Activists are calling for us as consumers to do away with plastics altogether for a month to raise awareness.  They’re marking their movement with the use of the hashtag #plasticfreejuly, which has already been hashtagged hundreds of thousands of times across social media platforms.

Along with civilians raising awareness around plastics, many states are also getting in on the action by helping to legislate change.  Bag bans are continuing to be enacted in many states across the country, and plastic straw bans are starting to gain traction with Seattle just passing a ban that went into effect July 1st.  Along with that, companies like Starbucks are changing their lids and doing away with straws altogether voluntarily.  This movement will only continue to grow and you can bet that the way we buy and consume products will be heavily impacted.

conservationTrend #2 Demand for upcycled products is skyrocketing

No matter what action we take to reduce the use of plastic, there’s no denying that we already have a huge stream of used plastics out there.  Upcycled products are a great way to make use of these plastics, giving them a second life.  Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products and waste materials into new materials or products of better quality.  You might be surprised by the breadth of products that you’ll see recycled products turning up in.  With everything from toys, to sponges, to journals and apparel, upcycled products are making their way into our lives and helping to keep useable materials out of landfills.  It’s amazing that these materials that would normally be wasted get turned into products that continue to provide function and value.

Trend #3 Millennials are environmentally conscious and are increasingly in charge of purchase decisions

One of the strongest groups leading change is the millennial generation.  Social justice is back at the forefront big time, and millennials are a lot more focused on buying for a cause they support.  There’s even a new buzz that’s been coined, “Cause-Marketing”, where marketers are restructuring their focus towards feel-good, do-good branding.  Millennials want to see that there’s a shared mission between themselves and the companies they buy from and want to purchase from companies that stand for a cause.  As buyers, it is exciting that each and every day through our choices small or large, we all have the ability to help drive and support this change.

So, what’s the impact?

By knowing about these trends and taking action, your brand can be a part of the change, rather than a victim of it. You don’t want to lose customers to competitors due to turning a blind eye to the conservation movement.  One quick win for your company can be incorporating conservation products into your branded merchandise strategy. Products like upcycled apparel, recycled journals and reusable bags (from Flip and Tumble!) are great giveaways to help further your brand and the cause.

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