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Zero waste is trending on Instagram! Is it just a marketing argument or an underlying trend?

You’ve probably spoke about it during a friendly conversation, or you just encountered it by scrolling through your Instagram feed: the zero waste trend has no doubt caught your eye. But what is behind this term which can at times seem a bit vague? Follow our guide!

This subject isn’t new to social media. #Globalrecyclingday, #trashchallenge, and #onestpret are just some of the numerous movements that were created in the past years to raise awareness about recycling and the preservation of the planet. The growing impact of social media has allowed these movements to gain steam and to make an impact on a large scale. The #onestpret movement, which took place last November, brought together 120 famous YouTubers and Instagramers. They challenged their followers to take action to preserve the planet and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But what is really behind the generic term "zero waste?"

What’s zero waste?

Perhaps you believe that adopting a zero waste lifestyle takes time, money, and is practiced by hippies or the rich who live in the countryside? Well, you are wrong! Zero waste is possible for everyone by taking certain steps on a daily basis. The most important thing is to develop the desire to change. Zero waste is above all a state of mind and a way of life. Often, zero waste proponents have focused on our overall level of consumption. They argue that it is, therefore, urgent to limit our ecological impact in order to preserve the planet.

The 5 principles of zero waste 

  1. Refuse : everything you don't need, like plastic bags or paper towels. The idea is to say no to single-use items.
  2. Reduce : the use of products that are not needed to limit overconsumption as much as possible. Eating locally and cooking at home can be part of the solution.
  3. Reuse : certain objects by giving them a second life. Whenever possible, it is also better to use reusable or second-hand products.
  4. Recycle : what can be recycled. When you can, going to a recycling plant is a good solution.
  5. Compost : all other waste.

These examples offer a slight overview of the actions that can be taken, but there are still many other tips to limit your carbon footprint and to adopt a zero waste consumption model!


The balance between aesthetic and added value
Numerous Instagram users have decided to combine their passions: to create content and to raise awareness. Above all, the idea is to send a qualitative message while respecting the norms of social media, which emphasizes colors and well produced photos. The challenge for Instagramers is finding the balance between the aesthetics of their photos and the quality of the message delivered. Because Instagram is mainly dedicated to the image, interesting messages accompanied by a pleasant visual are more likely to be listened to. So, when searching for hashtags like #zerodechet, #zérodéchet or #zerowaste, we can very often see photos of jars, reusable fabrics, or plants all through posts often refined, colorful, and geometric.

This phenomenon, which has existed for several years now, has become a "trend" on Instagram, thanks to the messages conveyed on social media channels and the visibility that influencers allow it to obtain. The numbers speak for themselves: For the hashtag #zerodechet, 448,000 publications were uploaded. 33,000 posts for the hashtag #zérodéchet and more than 3 million posts for its english version #zerowaste.

Given the urgency in which our planet finds itself, influencers are now more than ever choosing to use their visibility and their influence to convey strong messages to their community, to which they are often very close. The idea is no longer simply to "make money" through Instagram, but to educate followers to make a real change on a larger scale. The most influential Instagramers know they can make an impact, even when it comes to less glamorous subjects than fashion and travel. This is why some influencers even offer coaching, to support people who would like to adopt this new mode of consumption. And their followers, curious and attentive, make it possible for them!

What about brands?

Instagram users are not the only ones who have decided to promote the zero waste trend on Instagram. Many brands have also decided to follow this trend, in particular those that manufacture eco-friendly products or that are geared towards zero-waste consumption. It is not uncommon to find brand publications by searching for #zerodechet, #zérodéchet and #zerowaste. These hashtags are a good way for these brands to promote their products and to be discovered by their consumers. In addition to growing visibility for their products, they also give advice to all those who would like to change their consumption habits. So do not hesitate to subscribe to these hashtags to know the best tips for preserving the planet every day!

Michelle Mbanzoulou, Influence marketing project manager @ YOÔ

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