Reflections on SPC Impact and the Emerging Reuser Movement
Cleanyst recently made its industry debut at SPC Impact, the annual spring conference of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), which was held in San Francisco from April 24-26th. It was a huge honor to have been afforded the opportunity to present a talk about Cleanyst’s product development journey on opening day of the conference. It was also humbling to share the stage with such inspiring speakers, including Will Rosenzweig of Generation Investment Management and Jeff Kirschner of Litterati. What’s more, it was also nice to come “full circle” since our product development journey actually started a few years ago while listening to an inspiring talk at a prior SPC conference in 2015. We will soon be posting video highlights of my talk, entitled Squaring the Circle: Balancing Source Reduction and Recyclability in a New Reusable Packaging Platform, so please keep an eye out for it.
Our team was especially impacted by Will Rosenzweig’s talk and have been reflecting on his critique of some of the language and labels we have been using for various industry terms, ranging from “sustainability” (i.e., are we only aiming to sustain the planet and each other?) to “consumers” (i.e., is that all we are in the end?). Rosenzweig’s talk got us thinking about how we have been referring to Cleanyst’s future customers. Surely, we have used the term “consumer” in our social media posts and other copy and we now regret the term’s negative connotations in light of the talk. Indeed the culture of consumption that has spread throughout much of the developed world drives the linear economy and is part of the problem we are trying to solve at Cleanyst. Through bottle reuse and mixing finished products from concentrates, we seek to transform the consumption culture and empower our customers to become product makers and creators rather than mere product consumers. As such, the term “consumer” no longer feels like the right label for our future customers. Similarly, the labels “customer” and “user” don’t feel all that right either. Upon further reflection, we came up with another term that we feel is a better fit, namely “REUSER.”
The term “reuser” appropriates the common “user” label and changes its meaning and significance altogether. Indeed, our reusers will do a lot more with our platform and products than simply use and consume them. Instead, they will take an active role in the production of their favorite products and they will be reusing their bottles with each new batch they mix up. This small step and bit of extra effort will radically reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions from home and body care products, and help make the world a better place for future generations. We hope that “reuser” will become a badge of honor among those who adopt our platform in the future, not to mention anyone who makes the conscious effort to reuse rather than dispose. We also hope that Cleanyst will help to inspire and empower a new and more engaged community of environmentally responsible citizens—the Reuser Movement!
Co-Founder & Chief Reuse Officer