At Mamut, pay for your shoes with your plastic bottles
In the month of February, the Uruguayan shoe brand Mamut suggests that you pay for your summer shoe… with plastic bottles! The asserted aim is clear: help clean up the local beaches.
Each plastic bottle brought to the shop is worth 100 Uruguayan dollars, roughly 4 American dollars. Ultimately, customers can cover up to 40% of their purchases with this plastic waste.
The scheme is being run in collaboration with CEMPRE and the Juan Charpa cooperative, in charge of recycling the plastic bottles collected by the shop.
With over 4,000 bottles collected in two weeks, one can of course regret the fact that Mamut’s operation is only a temporary one. Nonetheless, the fact remains that Mamut fully assumes its environmental convictions; which is not the case for many supposedly responsible brands and retail chains.
This is not an isolated initiative: Coca-Cola in Stockholm, Seda in Brazil or even the possibility of paying one’s train fare in Beijing with plastic bottles. Recycling is in vogue! In return, H&M offers money-off coupons to customers taking part in its clothes collection programme. Similarly, Sephora offers a 20% discount to customers who bring back their empty perfume bottles.
The mechanics of the Mamut scheme are interesting. Rather than waiting for a hypothetical collective awareness of the need to save the planet, the retail chain targets customers’ wallets with a markdown. With this “good deal” approach, it generates footfall in its shops while at the same time boosting consumer loyalty.
Our economic models are moving towards a circular economy, the principle being to complete the circle of product and service life cycles, etc. Many retail chains should follow Mamut’s example and create a new customer relationship by valuing them even more. In this case, many of them would probably have agreed to go and clean up the beaches directly with Mamut’s staff.