Picking up a plastic bottle

Today’s marketplace is rapidly evolving, and sustainability has emerged as a key differentiator for businesses of all sizes. Consumers are more informed and conscious about their purchases’ environmental and social impacts, seeking brands that align with their values. For small businesses, embracing sustainability meets this growing demand and opens doors to new opportunities for growth and innovation.

However, many small business owners hesitate to commit to sustainable practices despite the clear benefits. Concerns about cost, time, and relevance often overshadow the potential advantages. These misconceptions can act as significant barriers, preventing businesses from taking the necessary steps toward sustainability.

Let’s debunk these common misconceptions about sustainability and provide practical solutions to help small businesses overcome these doubts. Join us as we explore how your business can thrive by embracing purpose-driven sustainability and subscribing to impact.

Misconception 1: Customers don’t care about sustainability

One of the most persistent myths in the business world is the belief that customers are indifferent to sustainability. Many small business owners assume that their customer base prioritizes cost and convenience over ethical and environmental considerations. However, recent data tells a different story.

A survey by IBM and the National Retail Federation found that nearly 77% of consumers say sustainability is important1, and over 62% are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact2. Furthermore, a study by Nielsen found that 73% of global consumers would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact3.

Misconception 2: Sustainability is too expensive for small businesses

The fear of high upfront costs and the assumption that sustainability requires significant ongoing investment often deter businesses from pursuing greener operations. While initial costs may be associated with certain sustainable practices, many of these investments pay off over time through cost savings and increased efficiency. 

For example, energy-efficient upgrades can significantly reduce utility bills. Turning off 100 light bulbs for eight hours daily could save a company more than USD 1,000 annually4. Moreover, a DNV study showed that 34% of companies had seen cost savings since implementing supply chain sustainability measures5

Misconception 3: Sustainability takes too much time

Many business owners believe implementing sustainability measures is time-consuming and requires extensive resources. However, sustainability can be implemented gradually and effectively.

Simple actions like switching to LED lighting, digitizing files, and enhancing recycling programs can substantially improve environmental impact and cost savings. These small steps contribute to environmental sustainability and lead to reduced waste, lower energy bills, and an enhanced brand reputation. 

Misconception 4: Sustainability won’t make a difference in my industry

Sustainability drives innovation by encouraging companies to rethink their products and processes, opening up new growth opportunities. For example, IKEA aims to become fully circular by 2030, focusing on renewable materials and durable, repairable products6. This shift mitigates environmental risks, reduces costs, and enhances resilience​. 

Another example is Ascend Elements, which recycles old lithium batteries into new, high-performance cathode material, recovering 98% of the materials and reducing the need for newly mined metals​7. This innovation supports the growing electric vehicle market and exemplifies how sustainability can lead to significant technological advancements and cost savings.

Misconception 5: Some businesses are too small to make an impact

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) comprise 90% of businesses globally and employ 70% of the workforce​8. While the actions of SMEs might seem minor, the combined efforts of many can lead to substantial environmental and social benefits. 

In addition, SMEs play a crucial role in local communities, where their sustainable initiatives can have immediate and visible impacts. Initiatives like community clean-ups, supporting local collection members, and promoting sustainable products can inspire broader community action and support.

Plastic Bank Founder and CEO addressing business owners
David Katz, Plastic Bank Founder and CEO, engaging with small business owners in Bali, Indonesia.

Sustainability at the click of a button

As we debunk common misconceptions about sustainability, it’s clear that small businesses can significantly impact the environment and their communities. However, the challenge lies in finding efficient and effective ways to implement sustainable practices without overwhelming resources. This is where Plastic Bank Impact Subscription comes in as a valuable solution.

What is Plastic Bank Impact Subscription?

Plastic Bank Impact Subscription is a monthly impact contribution that guarantees the collection of a pre-set amount of plastic bottles by Plastic Bank’s collection communities. Members exchange gathered plastic for money and social benefits, including health, work, and life insurance, digital connectivity, grocery vouchers, school supplies, and fintech services. This dual impact of reducing plastic waste and supporting economic development helps create more resilient communities globally.

Upon subscribing, businesses select their desired level of impact and gain access to a Professional Impact Account, which offers a range of tools and resources to help businesses effectively communicate their commitment to sustainability. These include:

Retailer toolkit: Point-of-sale printables highlighting the business’s commitment to sustainability, making it easy to communicate impact directly to customers.

Dedicated Impact Page: A public webpage showcasing the business’s environmental efforts and the positive outcomes of their contributions.

Marketing resources: Social media templates, photos, videos, and campaign toolkits to help businesses share their impact stories easily.

Certified impact: A downloadable impact certificate showcasing the amount of plastic the business has helped gather from the environment, adding credibility and authenticity to sustainability claims.

Embracing sustainability can be simple and inexpensive. Plastic Bank Impact Subscription provides a practical, efficient, and effective way for small businesses to implement sustainable practices and make a significant impact. Integrating this solution into their operations enables businesses to enhance their brand reputation, increase customer loyalty, and contribute to a healthier planet and more resilient communities.

For more information on how to start your sustainability journey with Plastic Bank Impact Subscription, visit

  1. “IBM Global Consumer Study: Sustainability Actions Can Speak Louder Than Intent,” IBM, April 13, 2022, 
  2. Karl Haller et. al, “Consumers want it all: Hybrid shopping, sustainability, and purpose-driven brands,” National Retail Federation and IBM, January 2022, 
  3. “A ‘natural’ rise in sustainability around the world,” NielsenIQ, January 10, 2019, 
  4. Josh Weiss and Susie Poppick, “7 ways going green can save you lots of money,” CNBC, April 20, 2016, 
  5. “Lean & Green: Building sustainable and cost-efficient supply chains,” DNV, December 2023, 
  6. “Future-Built Companies Embrace Sustainability,” BCG, November 17, 2023, 
  7. Adele Peters, “The 10 most innovative companies in energy and sustainability of 2023,” Fast Company, March 2, 2023, 
  8. “The Power of Small: Unlocking the Potential of SMEs,” International Labour Organization, October 2019, 

More Purpose and Profit articles