Sustainable Selling: How Plastic- And Package-Free Stores Are Reshaping Retail


Forbes | July 25, 2021


More and more retailers are taking a step towards changing consumer's consumption habits, one product at a time. Target announced a sustainability strategy, vowing to be the market leader for sustainable brands by 2030. Target embraced Plastic-Free July, with store displays featuring brands like Stojo, which makes sustainable alternatives to the disposable coffee cup, and other single-use food and beverage containers. A search for plastic-free on Amazon yields over 20,000 results, from reusable food wraps to bio-degradable hair ties. Online retailers like Grove Collaborative heavily promoted Plastic-Free July on social media this month, enlisting influencers and celebrities to go plastic-free for a day or more.


Sustainable Haus Mercantile, and its owner, Janette Spiezio, take sustainability to the next level. Spiezio makes products sold in her store, including laundry detergent, soaps, various cleaning products, and reusable replacements for napkins and paper towels, eliminating the environmental impact of shipping associated with ordering those products from a wholesaler. Her local customers like knowing they can walk to her store to refill their products and keep their money in the local economy. She is also making her store a base for sustainability by partnering with Terracycle on seven recycling programs, she accepts compost dropoffs, she offers knife sharpening and dish rental services, and she is working on Deliver Zero - a company that supplies reusable, returnable takeout containers to local restaurants.


“They sell a lifestyle and a way to make a ripple effect change in your life,” customer Megan Vartan said. “Every time I run out of a plastic product, I just find a better solution there,” she said. There are a growing number of consumers around the world who think like Vartan. The 2020 PwC Global Consumer Insights Survey found that 45% of consumers said they avoid the use of plastic whenever possible, and 41% want retailers to eliminate plastic bags and packaging for perishable items.


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