Skip to main content

Eco-Friendly Promotional Products Buying Guide

published: May 9, 2019  |  updated: October 17, 2019

Do People Care About Eco-Friendly Products?

Yes! According to a 2017 study on the importance of corporate social responsibility to consumers, 68% of millennials bought a product with a social or environmental benefit in the past 12 months, and 87% would buy a product with a social and environmental benefit if given the opportunity.

Although the research is clear, the definition of “eco-friendly” can be confusing. While all manufactured products, including promotional items have some impact on the environment, some have properties that are more beneficial to the environment than others.

What Makes a Product Eco-Friendly?

A product can have eco-friendly attributes, without being “green” or environmentally-friendly in every aspect. Certain products may conserve energy or reduce waste because of their intended use or materials. For example, a grocery shopping tote bag is reusable, but its manufacturing method may not be energy efficient and its material may not be renewable. We will explore some of the different terms under the eco-friendly umbrella, as well as the benefits of each promotional product category to the environment, the people who use them, and your brand.

Examples of Reusable Promotional Products

Reusable products replace items that must be thrown away after one use and represent a simple way to reduce consumption and waste without having to make major lifestyle changes.

1) Shopping Totes

Custom imprinted reusable shopping and tote bags eliminate the need to use (and sometimes pay for) plastic bags. More and more retailers and cities are moving in the direction of a plastic bag ban, making this a great time to make the switch. It is estimated that using one reusable grocery tote per year, in place of a disposable option, can prevent up to 500 plastic bags from being thrown away.

1 Reusable Grocery Tote Can Save:

1 reusable grocery tote can save 500 disposable plastic bags a year

Some of our most popular promotional shopping totes include:

2) Water Bottles
Reusable water bottles allow us to refill our bottles with fresh water whenever we need it, rather than having to purchase and utilize disposable plastic water bottles. Did you know that using one reusable water bottle can save up to 167 plastic bottles per year?

1 Reusable Water Bottle Can Save:

1 reusable water bottle can save 167 plastic water bottles a year

Promotional water bottles make a great welcome or employee appreciation gift, and people tend to hold on to them because they are useful. We recommend one of these eye-catching best sellers:

Check out our water bottle guide for more information about choosing the style and material that is just right for your organization, cause, or event.

3) Coffee Tumblers
Reusable stainless steel and plastic tumblers are a great alternative to disposable coffee cups, and some retailers even offer discount prices to refill your cup instead of using a plastic, paper, or Styrofoam version that will be thrown away. In fact, using one reusable tumbler instead of a disposable alternative can save up to 115 throw-away cups per year.

1 Reusable Cup Can Save:

1 reusable cup can save 115 disposable coffee cups a year

These practical (and portable) choices will make your customers, clients, and employees want say goodbye to disposable cups forever:

4) Reusable Straws

Reusable straws address a major environmental concern regarding plastic waste that threatens marine wildlife, such as sea turtles. As with plastic grocery bags, disposable straws are being phased out by some major food and beverage franchises, and custom imprinted reusable straws make a great, eco-friendly promotional giveaway. One reusable straw can make quite an impact, preventing an average of 584 disposable plastic straws from being thrown away!

1 Reusable Straw Can Save:

1 reusable straw can save 584 disposable plastic straws a year

Reusable straws are made from materials like stainless steel and silicone. Great for coffee and beverage retailers, trade show giveaways, and special events, these straw choices are not only fun but can be used again and again:

5) Lunch Bags

Custom imprinted cooler lunch bags are an especially great giveaway item for college students and employees. They are practical, in that people can use them every day, and It is said that one reusable lunch bag can save up to 200 plastic or paper bags per year.

1 Reusable Cooler Bag Save:

1 reusable cooler bag can save 200 plastic or paper bags a year

Which promotional lunch tote is the perfect match for your brand? Here are some of our favorites:

back to contents table

Examples of Recyclable Products

Another category of promotional products with environmental benefits are recyclable items. These are items that can be recycled instead of thrown away, conserving resources and reducing waste.

1)Paper Bags

Promotional paper bags come in handy at pop-up shops, retail stores, and special events. Even though they are meant for one-time use only, they can be recycled after use. Two great options are:

2) Notebooks

Show students, staff members, and trade show participants your green side with eco-friendly notebooks made with materials that can be recycled. These two notebooks are made of recycled materials as well as being recyclable when done:

3) Other Recyclable Swag

back to contents table

Products Made with Recycled Materials

Selecting a promotional product made with recycled materials is another way to demonstrate a commitment to greener business practices. We offer a variety of custom imprinted items made with post-consumer materials, such as:

1) Grocery Totes
2) Notebooks and Notepads
3) Other Fun Products Made with Recycled Materials

Recycled materials are often referred to as post-consumer waste, meaning that after a consumer is done with a product, it can be broken down and used to make something new. Watch our video explaining the life cycle of PET plastic, a common post-consumer waste material:

back to contents table

Organic Products

Products that list organic ingredients and materials must meet certain standards in order to make this claim, such as avoiding prohibited practices like genetic engineering and the use of synthetic pesticides. Choosing a promotional product made with organic ingredients conveys to clients and customers that you have their best interests in mind. Our organic promotional product options, great for schools, natural food retailers and healthcare practices, include:

back to contents table

Biodegradable Products

Biodegradable products are those that break down into natural materials over time that can be safely absorbed into the environment. Beyond being able to be placed in a recycling bin, these items can be discarded outside, breaking down without creating any waste. Biodegradable promotional products make a statement that your brand cares about its impact on the environment. Here are several biodegradable choices we recommend:

1) Plastic Bags
2) Balloons
3) Water Bottles

back to contents table

Energy-Efficient Products

Energy-efficient items serve their intended purpose while using less energy to do so, conserving resources such as electricity and fossil fuels. Consider offering a useful, energy-efficient tradeshow giveaway or corporate gift for clients and employees, such as:

1) Solar Items
2) LED Light items

back to contents table

Products Made with Sustainable/Renewable Resources

Other promotional products are made with sustainable and renewable materials, meaning they can be used without concern for depleting their natural supply. As many products are made with several different types of materials, be sure to check out each product description and look for those made with a high percentage of sustainable material. Not only are sustainable promo products a greener choice, they are also very trendy at the moment! These include:

1) Bamboo
2) Jute
3) Cork
4) Cotton

back to contents table

Green Business Practices

Once you’ve selected an eco-friendly promotional product that best represents your brand, you can also have peace of mind knowing that our company strives to reduce its footprint on the earth as well. Our corporate headquarters utilizes a 696-panel solar energy system that produces 100% of our power from our solar panels. Our shipping practices are carbon neutral, meaning that we offset carbon emissions by purchasing credits toward green projects: reforestation, renewable energy, and wastewater treatment. We also count all paper that is run through our printers and offset this consumption by having trees planted in a Brazil rainforest.

The Eco-Friendly Bottom Line:

If it is important to you and your constituents that your organization makes eco-friendly buying decisions, choosing a promotional product from one of the above categories is a great first step. Not only will you create goodwill, you will also reduce your (and their) carbon footprint!