Updated: Aug 6, 2022
It’s a simple question:
What percentage of the two billion Canadian dollars spent on branded premiums (promotional products and apparel) do we need to move to eco-friendly alternatives to save the earth?
How to Save the Earth w/promotional products
BY JOSHUA PAXTON & ALEX MORIN
Eco-Heroes Unite! What's motivating companies to embrace sustainability as a key performance indicator? Are we doing more than talking about it? And what daily choices can add up to make a positive impact?
The ad specialty industry continues to invest millions of dollars into innovative solutions designed to recycle post-consumer waste, reduce energy consumption and pollution, and reuse valuable metals and materials. The tools are there to live your eco-values and choose to invest in sustainability. But are you?
Becoming an Eco-Hero is about choices...
If you're serious about discovering and creating opportunities to make a positive impact on our environment, then you can start by reviewing the actions (and choices) that you and other members of your company and/or community face each day.
Your alarm goes off and your day begins. At what point does your coffee craving kick in? Are your eyes even fully open before the first cup is empty?
First up, make reusable cups your norm. You can reduce waste and all the energies that go into making more paper cups by carrying an insulated tumbler or to-go cup.
Next, consider how your coffee is made. A lot of energy goes into making single-use pods and firing up the limited amount of hot water you’ll be using. We challenge you to try the Asobu Cold Brew Coffee Maker.
The only brewer that doesn’t need to be refrigerated at all, making it the most convenient option in the market.
Take the 34-oz mug on the go knowing your brew will keep cold (or hot) for hours. With a six-serving capacity the brew can be left in the fridge for up to two weeks and still get that same great rich and fresh flavour – especially from Fairtrade beans.
Tea lovers, we haven’t forgotten about you! The Asobu Cold Brew’s fine mesh works amazingly with loose leaf tea so you can enjoy a nice hot cup of steeped tea on the go.
Help to reduce energy and waste by sharing this premium gift with your audience, and change consumption habits for the better.
According to Coffee Association of Canada, it is estimated that Canadians discard 2.8 million coffee pods per day.
What's Clean, Green and Made in Canada?
Whether you like jumping into a cool shower for a fast wake up, or a hot shower to ease into the day, chances are there’s a small shelf beside you.
Canadian-made bars of hand soap from Botanical PaperWorks are one of the most original and practical promotional products, even rivaling the pen for its value to such a wide demographic.
And they’re quality products. Made with all-natural, vegan ingredients, each bar is wrapped in hand-made biodegradable recyc-led paper (which can be planted and will sprout wildflowers) and scented with essen-tial oils (no synthetics).
Unsure about gifting hand soaps? Ask yourself, does my brand value animal life? Do I value clean waterways, free of chemicals? If you do, this bar's for you.
Put the root in your boot
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet and it’s harvested from the root. What does that mean? It means that even after it’s harvested, you don’t have to plant a new seed to produce more bamboo. That’s a victory!
In the past 20 years the promotional product industry has introduced many new innovations crafted from or with bamboo. A wonderful plant for sustainable production, bamboo is incredibly hardy and doesn’t require pesticides for its growth.
As post-consumer waste, bamboo is biodegradable, returning energy to the earth.
Here's a fun fact- bamboo is a fast-growing grass, not wood. Another fun fact, bamboo is both antifungal and antibacterial, a perfect match for creating your organization’s next pair of custom decorated socks!
Bamboo socks from AZX Sport are both comfortable and good looking, and can be designed with up to six imprint colours to create your unique expression. Personal accessories like socks, ties, wristbands and hair ties are a fun way to add some flashy flare to a more traditionally corporate uniform or unite a team to share a uniform while leaving lots of opportunity for personal expression.
A Boomerang Lunch policy insists that whatever you bring in for lunch returns home with you when you're done. No matter if it's leftover food, containers, recyclables or garbage, it all goes back to be washed, recycled, or disposed of at home. Help your team improve their eco-impact by providing the tools for change.
Consider the ecoSmart program at PCNA.com, a collection dedicated to offering products with sustainability value.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
ecoSmart products are made from innovation, using recycled materials and sustainable materials. Each purchase also contributes a charitable donation to organizations fighting for the preservation of our planet.
Go Green! Plastic is Obscene
Single-use plastic bags and bottles have been socially cancelled.
The promotional products industry has long provided customers with simple, economical reusable drinkware and tote bags. Suppliers have continued to innovate new products with enhanced comforts, durability, eco-performance and functionality.
St Regis Group has introduced Hidrate Spark. This water bottle uses NFC tap technology to communicate with your smart device and track your daily water consumption. Wait too long and the body of your bottle will start to glow as a reminder that it's hydration time!
FEEL: THE DIFFERENCE
Drinking more water helps with fatigue, improves your mood and has a positive impact on your ability to focus.
HPG Debco has added mesh produce bags to their extensive collection of solutions, helping shoppers at grocery stores, markets and farm stands across Canada to refrain from plastic in favour of reusable, washable solutions with superior performance.
Both of these examples are great fits for brands who value health and wellness and promote an active lifestyle.
HidrateSpark would be an engaging gift for a technology or fulfillment company, especially one offering refillable water stations for employees. The produce bags are a natural match for agricultural brands and promotions in rural Canada where farm fresh produce is more accessible.
Quality uniforms reduce waste and save money
When you're considering an apparel cost comparison, ask about the expected life of a product. Compared to annual replacement, a layering shirt or jacket that looks great for two or three years is a better investment that will reduce your cost over time while also reducing energy consumption and waste.
Pure Earth™ is a new collection from performance apparel provider Stormtech that offers fusion of fashion, function and eco-sustainability. The Montebello Performance Short Sleeve Tee combines sustainably sourced BCI cotton with recycled polyester and the Camino Performance Polo is made with environmentally sustainable 87% recycled polyester, repurposing plastics that were once destined for landfills.
Stormtech products are fully warranted to the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship for a period of up to five years from the date of original purchase, excluding normal wear and tear.
A small change from synthetic rubbers and foams, cork material is harvested from the bark of an oak tree and naturally regenerates. It is also biodegradable and known to be antibacterial, which is probably a great characteristic for a mat you’ll be sweating on.
If the art of yoga aligns with your brand and calls to your spirit, consider a cork yoga mat from Spector & Co. To you it’s just one mat, but to an organization distributing mats to employees or customers it can mean a significant reduction of waste and energy.
Upcycling cotton, saving water
At the end of your day does your safe space involve a book and blanket, or a show and a throw? Whatever your method to tune out the outside world and prepare yourself for rest, a warm blanket around your shoulders is a nurturing comfort.
Hilana Upcycled Cotton has introduced two throw blankets this season as part of the PCNA ProudPath catalogue. Made with recycled cotton and handcrafted, these blankets get even softer the more you wash and use them. The blankets fold down to a compact size, so you can throw them in your bag for the beach or the park. The Fethiye blanket will even dry you more quickly than a regular towel.
Hilana is a woman-owned business and a Certified B Corporation dedicated to balancing purpose and profit. Their beautiful products are made through a zero waste process.
SAVING MORE THAN MONEY
During a three-year span Hilana has upcycled more than five tons of cotton waste, saving these resources from being dumped into a landfill where it would take decades to decompose. They have also saved more than 15 million gallons of water and are now part of PCNA's EcoSmart® program, where one percent of sales of these throw blankets are donated to environmental nonprofits through a partnership with 1% For The Planet.
- as featured in marketingedge magazine June 2022 - click to open e-magazine