Outdoor brands from across the nation and overseas united against single-use plastic at June’s Outdoor Retailer trade show, which drew 23,500-plus attendees to the Colorado Convention Center. The movement was catalyzed by the Plastic Impact Alliance (PIA), an ongoing pledge co-created by SNEWS and Catapult Creative Labs. To date, more than 225 organizations—spanning from nonprofits and government agencies to media and public relations—joined the PIA, as well as 1,315 signees of the Plastic Impact Promise, a secondary arm of the pledge, which is tailored to individuals rather than companies. Beyond the alliance at the show, Outdoor Retailer and exhibiting brands provided water-refill stations, hosted plastic-free happy hours and waste-free lunches and eliminated throw-away carpet.
The larger goal? For the effort to grow beyond the limited walls of the trade show, everyone needs to follow suit. More than 43 percent of U.S. adult outdoor enthusiasts—anyone who enjoys outdoor activities such as running, yoga and adventure travel on a regular basis—depend on single-use plastic water bottles while engaging in outdoor activities, reports a survey commissioned by LifeStraw in May 2019. According to the survey, folks often forget a reusable bottle, view it as inconvenient or they’re concerned about the quality of the water they use to fill a bottle.
“While the outdoor industry has advocated for a reduction in single-use plastics, we still have work to do to create changes in behavior,” said Alison Hill, managing director of LifeStraw. To help, the brand suggests that travelers use carabiners—to attach reusable bottles to packs—purchase filters, and stash multiple reusable bottles from home to work. Visit snewsnet.com to join the PIA.