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Environmentalism and sustainability are now essential aspects of brand building, and in an increasingly competitive marketplace, effectively engaging consumers poses many challenges. The expanded retail landscape has altered the way consumers interact with products and services, and standing out from direct competitors and defining oneself as a leader in the category requires an extra level of value strategy.

Getting back to basics may help businesses and major brands better communicate their dedication to the circular economy, engaging the consumer through an invitation to participate. Through our partnerships at TerraCycle, we’ve seen several consumer product brands and businesses experience success with in-store recycling collections.

Drives Foot Traffic
One of the invaluable positives to an in-store recycling promotion is the foot traffic it generates. Though marketing experts like to attribute the burgeoning trend of e-commerce to millennial shopping behavior, the reality is that all generations of consumers find themselves taken with the convenience of shopping online. But brick-and-mortar retailers offer customers what online shopping can’t: the opportunity to physically touch, feel and experience products for themselves.

The advantage created by making recycling the reason a customer enters a brick-and-mortar retail store is a two-fold: number one, you get them in the store and, number two, they have something to feel good about before they even buy anything. For example, TerraCycle and GU Energy Labs have recently expanded their successful Performance Nutrition Recycling Program to include all brands of performance nutrition packaging, and have given all GU retailers the opportunity to designate their locations as a public drop-off points for recycling performance nutrition packaging such as energy gel, drink mix and energy chew packets.


Creating in-store foot traffic around an empowering behavior like recycling inspires goodwill and positive feelings in the same environment where purchases occur, maximizing profit potential for each retail transaction.

Builds Brand Loyalty
We know that consumers are now more willing to pay more for sustainable products and services than ever before. But while cost, performance and credibility remain prohibitive factors standing between consumers and “doing the right thing,” creating and strengthening brand loyalty for these eco-conscious companies is essential for driving sales against well-established competitors.

This is especially true for specialty brands like Wellness Natural Pet Food, a premium pet food brand available in pet specialty stores. Presented for purchase alongside well-known dog food brands like Purina or Iams, Wellness Natural Pet Food is faced with the tall order of offering the consumer a promise of value exceeding that of other labels.

Wellness Natural Pet Food

Through TerraCycle, Wellness provides a recycling solution for its difficult-to-recycle product packaging, and retailers designated as public-drop off locations per the program can promote themselves as a collection point, communicating their sustainability commitment to customers.

This type of sustainable marketing rewards the consumer by giving them the opportunity to invest in a cause. Emotional and social value benefits are prevalent here, as the activation plays to emotional sensibilities and allows the consumer to make a social statement.

In-store recycling collections are a visual, tactile way to engage customers with the product you are trying to sell. Consumers are driven to purchase by a variety of factors, and it’s up to manufacturers and brands to figure out what those are, and market accordingly. / Issue 189 - September 2018
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