For the past three years, the Plastic Impact Alliance (PIA), a coalition of more than 420 active-lifestyle businesses committed to reducing single-use plastics in the outdoor industry, has been working to eliminate plastic bottles from our industry’s biggest trade shows and events. The most recent Outdoor Retailer show, held last month in Denver, was yet another opportunity for the group to continue its mission of driving the industry in a more sustainable direction.
This summer’s OR was smaller than previous iterations of the show, and the PIA activation followed suit with a “quality over quantity” mentality aimed at keeping the plastic conversation rolling in the outdoor industry. At the show, the PIA, in partnership with member brands YETI and Costa, delivered YETI water stations and Costa-branded water bottles to nine exhibiting PIA members, allowing them to provide their staff and guests with water options that didn’t involve plastic bottles.
The nine brands involved in the activation were Chill Angel, Costa, EcoVessel, Ignik Outdoors, Ledlenser, LOWA, Noso, Sightline Provisions, and Turtlebox.
Lia Colabello, managing principal of Planet+Purpose Solutions, led the activation. Colabello, whose team provides strategic guidance to help organizations launch sustainability initiatives, has been an advisor to the PIA since the organization’s inception.
“Coalitions like the PIA have enormous opportunity to drive brand behavior change from the ground up through simple yet effective opportunities like the exhibitor hydration station activation at OR,” Colabello said. “By working with our amazing partners YETI and Costa Sunglasses, who provided the Silos and Kick Plastic reusable water bottles, the PIA was able to move the needle forward towards its mission to make the outdoor industry more sustainable by eliminating single-use plastic.”
In total, the activation enabled the nine participating brands to collectively replace over 500 single-use disposable bottles, according to Colabello.
“This is a starting place for other brand leaders to join in at future shows, and to build awareness about the initiative for attendees,” Colabello said.
Ignik Outdoors also hosted a happy hour event to benefit the Plastic Impact Alliance during the show. The Ignik team filled their Silo with “Fireball Lemonade,” cranked up a rented karaoke machine, and raised $350 for the PIA.
“As brand-new members of the PIA, we were excited to get our YETI water station,” said Brad Werntz, sales director for Ignik. “We wanted to have fun at the show and give back to the PIA, who’s mission with plastic is right in line with what we do around green propane bottles—minimize what goes into landfills.”
Companies committed to eliminating single-use plastic from their businesses can join the PIA to receive a monthly newsletter, access to a private LinkedIn group, and invitations to future show and event activations.