Single-Use Plastics at Outdoor Retailer Need to End

Companies headed to the Outdoor Retailer convention can pledge to take a concrete step toward reducing plastic use.

In 2019, single-use plastic is becoming public enemy No. 1. It pollutes our waterways and oceans, never decomposes, and kills wildlife. And now, the outdoor industry plans to do something about it.

Thanks to an initiative launched by the industry publication SNEWS and Catapult Creative Labs, brands now have a simple, measurable way to take a small step in that direction. SNEWS calls it the Plastic Impact Alliance, and already more than 100 brands have pledged to banish single-use plastic products from their booths at the largest outdoor industry trade show in the United States.

Plastic Impact Alliance members
Some of the brands that have already joined the Plastic Impact Alliance

“This is a step we can take. It may be a very small step, but it is doable,” said SNEWS Editor In Chief Kristin Hostetter. “It is one small piece of the sustainability puzzle. We have a long way to go, but it’s something we can do to actually make a difference and in a very short amount of time.”

Starting at Outdoor Retailer: The Pledge

While plastic production began in earnest just 6 decades ago, a recent National Geographic report notes that in that time, we’ve created a staggering 8.3 billion metric tons of it. But while there are untold millions of products made of non-recycled, non-recyclable plastic in the world, it’s easy to remove single-use plastics from your life.

Plastic Impact Alliance water bottle on beach

Need a fork? Use a metal one or maybe wooden chopsticks. Need a bag? Bring a reusable one from home. Need water at the Outdoor Retailer Convention? Bring your own bottle!

“There’s a lot of frustration about the kind of hypocrisy that we display at our trade show. We can do better,” Hostetter said. “Sign the promise, bring your own mug, and don’t consume single-use plastic at the show.”

The pledge is simply to reject single-use plastics at the show. But it goes further. SNEWS developed a toolkit with resources to help brands host water stations. It also addresses plastic waste at happy hours and is working with Emerald Expositions and the Colorado Convention Center to remove single-use plastic from the show.

It may be a small step, but it’s symbolically significant. Your brand can sign the pledge here. We did, and we hope all brands participating in Outdoor Retailer do the same.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.