When I was an 8th grader in 1980, the cool girls wore Gloria Vanderbilt and Jordache jeans, walked in Candies high heeled shoes, and carried leather purses by Etienne Agner or John Romaine. It was a time when designer everything was, well, everything.
I remember when bottled water became a thing. You were cool if you walked around with a bottle of Evian. It was a status symbol. It showed that you could afford to buy water rather than use a water fountain like the unwashed masses did. As a result, bottled water sales skyrocketed even though tap water was perfectly safe to drink.
Then to-go coffee from Starbucks became a thing. Walking around with a to-go cup from Starbucks showed that you could afford Starbucks and were hip and trendy like Starbucks. And then everybody everywhere suddenly wanted to carry to-go cups wherever they went. And coffee places, and hotels, and restaurants responded. Even the entertainment world. Heck, when I watch my beloved Hallmark movies, the characters are always carrying to-go coffee cups rather than travel mugs.Disposable status symbols like bottled water & to-go coffee cups are wreaking havoc on Earth. Click To Tweet
Just yesterday, I had to kill 90 minutes while my 12 year-old son had baseball practice. Since there wasn’t a local café with WiFi nearby, I drove to the local Starbucks, ordered some organic tea, and worked on my laptop. I brought my own S’well tumbler for the tea. I love it because it keeps beverages hot for about 6 to 8 hours.
As I was departing, I grabbed the one brown napkin I had used to wipe off my dirty table to place in a trash can. There by the coffee station where you add your milk to your venti sized coffee, was a small trash can overflowing with paper and plastic cups.
This made no sense to me.
If patrons were consuming their beverages in-store, why doesn’t Starbucks provide their own mugs? (That’s a blog post for another day). I could also ask, “Why don’t patrons bring their own travel mugs?”
And then I thought, “Why don’t we make reusables – like travel mugs and water bottles – status symbols? Then everybody would want to carry them.”
Wouldn’t it be trend-setting if, at this year’s Home Run Derby at the MLB All Star Baseball Game, rather than be handed a towel and a disposable plastic bottle of water after hitting a record number of home runs, Aaron Judge would be handed a reusable water bottle? The brand – and the concept of using a reusable water bottle — would take off like wildfire and baseball fans everywhere would want to carry their own reusable water bottles into games (which, by the way, we can do at Washington Nationals games. Just sayin’).
And the next time Candace Cameron Bure is solving an Aurora Teagarden Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel, rather than carrying a to-go coffee cup while discussing possible suspects with her best friend Sally, wouldn’t it be wonderful if she carried a travel mug that read “Librarians Do It In the Stacks”? and fans everywhere would start carrying travel mugs, too.
What’s stopping us?
We don’t have to write letters to the Aaron Judge, the MLB, Candace Cameron Bure, and Hallmark (although, it couldn’t hurt).
We can be the trend setters. Average ordinary people can start a trend. Malcolm Gladwell explains in The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference that a handful of kids in the East Village and Soho started the trend of wearing Hush Puppies in late 1994 and early 1995. From there, the fashion industry picked up the trend, and then, the world.
Let’s do this.
Let’s start a trend.
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