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How Marketing Upcycled Products Can Enhance Brand Image

Jamie Danielle Munro
August 2nd, 2012

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Art & Design, Credit Crunch, DIY, Fashion, Tech, Unique
Marketing upcycled products not only enhances brand image, but also helps reduce the mountains of garbage dumped into landfills on a daily basis. According to the online educational site Annenberg Learner, the United States generates 230 million tons of garbage per year. Out of this total, only a quarter of the waste is recycled, with the rest taken off to landfills. Issues with overcrowded dumping grounds and environmental hazards demonstrate a need for alternatives, as carrying on at this rate will lead to increases in global warming and human health concerns.

Businesses with these ethical issues in mind have the power to attract consumers looking to support companies helping to make these changes. Marketing upcycled products is one route certain companies are taking to reduce their carbon footprint, and make the most out of waste.

Terracycle has built its business model on the process of upcycling, as the innovative company takes old packaging from big companies and turns the waste into sellable products. From bags to fences, the brand can upcycle almost anything. Moreover, brands who have partnered with Terracycle like Kraft and Aveeno are paid for their trash, instead of paying someone else to pick up their leftover scraps. The result is a win-win situation for everyone involved, and contributes to the environment's well-being.

For companies not directly involved in the upcycling industry, other tactics such as collaboration can be done to test these waters. Rebecca J. Slotegraaf, author of 'Keep the Door Open: Innovating Toward a More Sustainable Future,' has discussed Toyota's contest called 'Ideas for Good' where they asked consumers to share their thoughts on how to revamp existing technology. "Various ideas poured in detailing how a Prius solar panel or Toyota's Solar Powered Ventilation System could be used to develop new products to benefit consumers worldwide, with the winning ideas developed into working prototypes," states Slotegraaf. In doing this, Toyota demonstrated its desire for upcycling, and obtained both publicity and ideas for new products in one campaign. Upcycling can be done in a variety of ways, and turning to the public for inspiration is one avenue for branding a company with this social good in mind.

Trend Hunter has also seen the increase in marketing upcycled products in recent years, with PRO trends such as Undisguised Upcycling and Upcycled Print.

To learn more about the marketing upcycled products, our Eco Trend Report highlights the various initiatives businesses are taking to combat these global issues.