In 2020, we promised that we would continue to diligently pursue our mission of producing less waste and becoming a more active player in the circular economy. One of the biggest problems we have in retail is waste, which is rather challenging to avoid; at the same time, using sustainable materials is not always possible, so we usually try to reuse or repurpose elements, either on our own or through our partners.
Today we want to introduce you to Reciclage, the upcycling expert for sustainable giveaways produced regionally and socially. We’ve been working with Reciclage for over a year now, upcycling promotional materials from our retail executions into unique items. We talked to Richard Dürr, Junior Managing Director, for a couple of insights into their work and impact.
We want to convince companies to give a second life to advertising materials that would otherwise be unnecessarily or poorly disposed of. Being mindful of the resources and without harming the environment, we produce unique products that can last a lot longer than an advertising campaign.
Brands help by acknowledging the impact upcycling has - from reducing waste and cutting costs to creating unique merch for selected audiences and designing alternative, special giveaways for staff or consumers. By choosing to upcycle brands demonstrate their willingness to protect the Planet and make better choices for the environment.
This choice can have a snowball effect in the advertising industry – every company that turns their materials into new unique products will inspire other companies to do the same. Thus the more companies try this out, the more our mission gets traction.
Brands are interested in reducing their carbon footprint, and we help with that. We see their advertising materials not as waste but as a resource – we create something new out of them, economically and ecologically worthwhile.
In the process, we’re mindful of every step, including the story we tell. Our products have to convey the brand message fully - that’s never just about putting the logo or the brand claim in the right corner, but educating and inspiring the end consumer to trust the brand.
We routinely work with CSR, marketing, or communications departments to work out the best solution for their program and mission. You can see some examples here.
Well, upcycling is not new. I’m pretty sure that companies are well aware of its existence and have considered it. I think the problem is that some other players in the upcycling world have contributed to a bad reputation by promoting very high production prices; therefore, companies have become somewhat wary of it. But they can creatively reuse materials at a fair price - we always find a solution at Reciclage, so I recommend they always get in touch and explore ways of working together.
My other advice would be to stop looking at used advertising materials like waste and treat them as a resource to create new products and new stories while protecting the environment.
Richard: Of course, we know that advertising is vital for a company's success – but it doesn’t have to be done at the expense of the Planet. We’re delighted that Pioneers acknowledges this fact and will push upcycling to its clients; we’ve produced sustainably, memorable products for The North Face, for Levi’s, and Nike, and all parties have been happy with the result!