Old Dogs, New Tricks
Do you think recycling is the best thing you can do for the environment? Probably not. But the majority of people we poll do think that — because that’s the message companies have pushed for decades.
It’s rewarding for sustainability communicators to know messaging works. But in this case, it’s a problem for consumer goods makers.
The promise made via messaging is, “Don’t feel bad about all the stuff you buy — just recycle it!” People had bought into that promise big-time. Until now.
Our new infographic illustrates why messaging needs to come full circle — and how companies can stay relevant to today’s consumers.
We need to change behaviors around consumption and waste - before people give up on recycling.
Over the last 80 years, we've used messaging to drive new behaviors around consumption and waste.
"Use it up and wear it out" for the war effort
"Buy what you want and throw it away."
"Reduce, reuse, and recycle"
"Recycle" - the other R's have faded
And it worked.
People took our recycling message to heart.
of Americans think recycling helps the environment.
say it's the best way to help our planet.
76% of Americans say recycling makes them feel better about buying stuff.
But that get-out-of-guilt-free promise is starting to break down.
of Americans say the recycling system isn't working well.
aren't confident their recyclables are being recycled (up from 14% in 2019).
After all, 42% want to be seen as someone who's buying eco-friendly products.
If their stuff is really being landfilled...
the problem just got personal.
Americans are looking for new ways to purchase - without waste on their consciences.
That makes NOW the time to come full circle.
Use it up and wear it out
It's up to brands to provide new circular solutions - and roll out the right messaging to change behaviors.
What's your brand doing to teach