Foodsharing and dumpster-diving, the trends of the environmentally conscious youth

In my opinion ignorance is the biggest disaster.

We, as conscientious consumers have become overwhelmed with alarms about food contamination, over-fishing, clear-felled forests, loss of biodiversity, climate change, chemical pollution and other environmental and health-related risks. This for sure cannot be ignored. For this reason there is a change taking place. Green labels are an emerging phenomenon on today’s global agenda for sustainability governance.

Starting with the baby boomers, who began being socially conscious shoppers, over the Generation X facing the aftermath of nuclear catastrophes like Chernobyl and thus growing a greater environmental awareness, the following generations have started accepting sustainable lifestyle as an inevitable part of their life.

The Generation Y prefers working for socially conscious employers and believes climate change is caused by human activities. Even their lectures include sustainability. Once the awareness and concern about environmental issues grow, the necessity to act is considered as a must. The Generation Y has developed concepts for a more sustainable living.

Me and my friends tried out foodsharing for example. If you happen to have bought too much food and you cannot eat it up. What do you do? You open your foodsahring app or the website and just offer the food you want to give away. People in need of those will happily pick them up. At the moment there are over 50,000 users actively using this app and the website in Germany. Many green lovers even go further and do dumpster diving. This has become a widely accepted trend in the States and in Europe. In fact dumpster divers are even called freegans. Freegans view dumpster diving as a great way to recycle and consider it to be a form of political protest against food waste. Intermarché, one of the biggest supermarket chains in France launched the inglorious fruits and vegetables to demonstrate a glorious fight against food waste.

Even the fashion sector has some green influences.The Gerneration Y and Generation Z do not hesitate buying their stuff from the fleamarket. In Germany, I have been to many clothing swaps or better known as swap-parties. It is a type of swapmeet wherein participants exchange their valued but no longer used clothing for clothing they will use. They are considered as an act of environmenatlism and are sometimes even held to raise money and clothes for charitable donations. There is even an internet platform in Germany called kleiderkreisel.de, where you can cloth swap with people all over Germany. And offcourse you even have an app for it.

So sustainable choices are highly accessible, attractive and expected. The Generation Z for example sorts the garbage out as they have always done it, without knowing that this hasn’t always been common. They are used to the concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle. In Germany for instance, you even get 15 to 25 cents for each used recycleable bottles, you bring back to the recycling stations. This might even be a motivation for youngsters to get more money in addition to their pocket money. Even conventional supermarkets provide sustainable products and encourage a green lifestyle.

So all in all, green behavior is becoming a daily phenomenon. As well as the shoppers, the media, the citizens and the governments are taking actions for a sustainable lifestyle. This on the other hand means, green marketing is creating far-reaching business and job opportunities. For example a very young German start up called „Original Unverpackt“ has won several prizes in 2013 for their businessplan to set up a supermarket without packaging. As there is an overload of packaging waste and two third of that is caused by food packaging, which is a waste of valuable environmental resources, this start-up is taking a measure in the right direction. This shows that green marketing can also be a new source of innovation and even result in profits. For me a sustainable lifestyle is also connected with personal rewards, for example creating a better future for my future children.  And to me, green is not only a concept, it is the change I wished to see, which is gradually taking place in my everyday life.

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