We’re coming up on another Earth Day celebration. So it’s probably a good idea to do some promotional product trend updates for the green arena, especially those relating to corporate meetings.
- Recycled materials rule. From my observation of latest promotional item offerings, there seem to be more that are made of recycled materials, either in whole or in part (mostly part). This is particularly the case for plastics and paper, although there are a few recycled leather and cotton goods around. Not as many items claiming to be biodegradable (claims are often refuted or difficult to verify) or organic (usually higher priced). Green tip #1: Look for recycled versions of your favorite items. Chances are there are some available.
- Please recycle… Someplace else. This is the most hilarious trend of all. While it’s great to see that companies are using recycled and recyclable material promotional goods at their businesses or events, the number of recycling receptacles doesn’t seem to have changed much at many facilities I’ve visited in the past year or two. So the “Please Recycle” message on the bottom of the item might as well say, “Please recycle… Someplace else.” Result? Most people will throw recyclable materials in the regular landfill-bound trash. They are not taking these throwaways home with them to recycle. What a waste! Green tip #2: Provide recycling containers at regular trash container locations to encourage recycling of paper and plastics. Contact your meeting venue to discuss available options and handling.
- B.Y.O.B. No, not suggesting that your attendees bring their own booze (although some might). What we’re talking about here is badge, water bottle and bag. Does every event you host need to provide lanyards? Probably not, since many already have hoards of them. Should you be providing water stations instead of bottled water? Probably yes. Will most attendees already be bringing a tote bag, backpack or briefcase? Probably yes again. Encouraging attendees to bring their own gear helps satisfy the “reduce” element of any reduce-reuse-recycle effort. But communication is key to making this work. Green tip #3: Alert attendees early and often that they will need to bring these items with them. Advising them that this is an effort to reduce the environmental footprint of your event will help quell those “they’re so cheap they’re not providing ___” complaints. For the first event or so after you institute this policy, you might want to have some leftover bags and lanyards on hand for those who forgot (it’s inevitable). As a side benefit, you will be saving money.
- Air-ing out. Freight is where many green promotional product choices turn into carbon culprits. People choose a great eco friendly item for their event. Then they wait until the last minute to order, making air shipping a necessity, which can erase any carbon savings realized by choosing a greener product. Green tip #4: Order at least a month or more in advance of your event to eliminate the need the expedited air shipping and to account for unforeseen shipping delays (such as due to weather).
Luckily, as time goes on, recycled and other more earth friendly materials are becoming the norm for many promotional items, which helps reduce their price and make them an easier choice.
Happy Earth Day!