12 Eco-Friendly Promotional Product Ideas for Smart Businesses

We’ve created a list of 12 eco-friendly promotional product ideas for sustainable business relationships.  Eco promotional products aren’t just important […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop

We’ve created a list of 12 eco-friendly promotional product ideas for sustainable business relationships. 

Eco promotional products aren’t just important for protecting the environment, they’re also practical since most of them are reusable. 

Here are some of the products you’ll find in this list:

  • Shopper bag
  • Bamboo lunch box
  • Bamboo cutlery set
  • Biodegradable tumbler

Plus a few more. 

You can scan through the product ideas in this list or choose the one that you like from the navigation below. 

Let’s get started. 

12 Eco-Friendly Promotional Product Ideas for Smart Businesses

Product Idea #1: Shopper Bag

Product Idea #2: Reusable Water Bottle

Product Idea #3: Reusable Straws Set

Product Idea #4: Eco-friendly Backpack

Product Idea #5: Bamboo Lunch Box

Product Idea #6: Bamboo Cutlery Set

Product Idea #7: Reusable Food Bag

Product Idea #8: Biodegradable Tumbler

Product Idea #9: Bamboo Toothbrush

Product Idea #10: Soap Bar

Product Idea #11: Recycled Materials Apparel

Product Idea #12: Biodegradable Spiral Notebook

Product Idea #1: Shopper Bag

Our very first eco-friendly promotional products idea is the shopper bag, also called a tote bag. 

Image Source: PCNA

It makes a fantastic grocery shopping bag and also a great alternative to plastic bags which will remain in landfill for years.

However, do keep in mind that cotton needs lots of water as well as fertilizers to grow. 

For that reason, you should try to make your bag of high quality and make sure your company logo or any other promotional element you might want to feature is presented in a stylish and well-thought through way. 

This’ll make the recipient keep the tote bag for years and avoid throwing it away. 

Why we like it: A shopper tote is totally reusable and washable, thus being one of the products that most help reduce the use of single-use plastic.  

Ideal for: Virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #2: Reusable Water Bottle

The second product idea is a reusable water bottle

This particular bottle comes with a great story. 

More specifically, 1% of sales are given to charities that help bring sustainable clean water solutions to communities around the world.  

Image Source: PCNA

A reusable water bottle made from stainless steel, bamboo, ceramic, or glass is among the most useful promotional products a company can give their employees or clients, or share in a giveaway. 

Shocking images like the ones below from a video filmed by National Geographic, prove the need for reduced plastic consumption. 

Image Source: National Geographic

Not only landfills, but also the seas are full of plastic bottles that’ll remain there for thousands of years. 

For that reason, it’s essential that businesses bring thoughtfulness and sharp focus on sustainability in terms of types of products they choose to include in their swag boxes and gift sets.  

Why we like it: It’s extremely useful and can be fully customizable to fit a company’s style. 

Ideal for: Corporate gift, giveaway, virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #3: Reusable Straws Set

Another great eco-friendly idea that’s totally trending at the moment is a set of stainless steel straws, AKA metal straws. 

Image Source: Gemline

Unlike plastic straws that can be used only once and will, unfortunately, remain on this planet for many years to come, reusable straws, like the ones shown above, can be washed and used many times over. 

Author’s Tip: In case you decide to go for a set of these, it’d be really useful if you could share the set of straws alongside a reusable pouch that’ll help the recipient keep them clean and protected, thus keeping and using them for longer. 

Why we like it: It goes great with other eco-friendly drinkware products in this list, thus making a complete and thoughtful gift set for giveaways and events. 

Ideal for: Giveaway, virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #4: Eco-friendly Backpack

A product that can be put in an environmentally friendly promotional giveaway or as a corporate gift is an eco-friendly backpack

Image Source: Gemline

Whether it’s a non-woven backpack, a type of material that’s considered to be environmentally friendly and durable, or made out of other types of recycled materials, such a backpack is a must when it comes to eco-friendly promotional products. 

Its durability alongside the fact that it’s washable, and possibly recyclable, make it an ideal gift for everyone with a demanding everyday routine. 

What’s great about this is that, like the tote bag we looked at a little further up in this post, it can be used in so many different ways that makes the production process worth it. 

Ideally, you could go for a backpack that’s not only made out of recycled materials, but also uses recycled parts, like a recycled zip

Why we like it: It makes a fantastic alternative to backpacks that might include plastic in their fabric composition. 

Ideal for: Corporate gift, giveaway, virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #5: Bamboo Lunch Box

A bamboo lunch box is a great promotional product idea for smart and eco-conscious businesses. 

Image Source: PCNA

Fighting plastic packaging and plastic food containers has never looked more stylish!

Especially when it comes to mundane items like a food container. 

Bamboo, glass, ceramic, and other materials like silicone can make beautiful, reusable, washable, and durable products that can be used again and again. 

It’s important to mention that silicone might present some environmental cons in terms of its production process, but doesn’t contain the harmful chemicals that plastic does.

Author’s Note: In case you need to go for a more lightweight food container, for example at an event, try to choose food containers made of rPET — that stands for recycled polyethylene tetraphyte. 

It’s fully recyclable and lessens landfill usage compared to plastic. 

Why we like it: It helps towards creating an environmentally conscious routine with fully recyclable and useful everyday items. 

Ideal for: Corporate gift, virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #6: Bamboo Cutlery Set

A bamboo cutlery set could make the perfect match to our previous gift idea. 

Image Source: Gemline

It’s cost-effective and far more lightweight than silverware which makes it a great gift for everyone whose routine requires them to get lunch or other meals outside their home. 

The set shown in the snapshot above is made of  bamboo fiber as well as PLA, a fully sustainable material made out of cornstarch. 

Author’s Tip: Such a plant based materials cutlery set goes fantastically well with a cotton or other recycled material washable travel pouch that makes it easier to carry and more practical in terms of keeping the set clean when outside of the home. 

Why we like it: It helps reduce the use of single use plastic cutlery that’s extremely dangerous for the sea life on this planet. 

Ideal for: Corporate gift, virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #7: Reusable Food Bag

A reusable food bag is a product that’s trending right now because of how practical it is. 

Such pouches are usually made of a washable and durable material, like cotton or canvas,  which makes them way more useful than a plastic bag. 

A plastic bag can’t be washed in case there’s any leak from your sandwich or fruit. 

For that reason, is usually only used once or twice depending on the type of food one puts in it.

Last but not least, it makes the plastic crisis significantly worse, as we’ve seen already.

There’s really no reason for not giving a pretty and customizable promotional food bag at a trade show or sending it to virtual or physical  event attendees. 

Why we like it: It’s healthier and feels more natural and practical to put your fruits or other food in a cotton pouch rather than a plastic bag. 

Ideal for: Virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #8: Biodegradable Tumbler

A product I personally cannot stop using is the biodegradable tumbler

Image Source: Gemline

A simple, reusable tumbler is already a product that’s good enough in comparison to single use tea and coffee cups. 

However, many times people are using reusable tumblers made of plastic. 

Though that might be KIND OF OK in terms of the plastic crisis, given that a hard plastic tumbler can be used many times, it’s still not OK in terms of what it might do to one’s health

Have a look at the following infographic by Save Our Shores.

Image Source: Save Our Shores

As you can see, microfibers and microplastics — plastic fragments smaller than five millimetres — are extremely likely to end up in humans’ bodies by breathing or by eating contaminated fish. 

That doesn’t sound ideal, right?

For that reason, we should all try to change our consumer and everyday habits and prefer using – as well as gifting – plastic free items that can be fully composted or will biodegrade. 

Trust me, a biodegradable tumbler that’s probably used every single day – it’s a great place to start!

Why we like it: It significantly reduces the use of plastic and also helps minimize the consumption of microplastics which can be extremely harmful for the human body. 

Ideal for: Corporate gift, virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #9: Bamboo Toothbrush

A bamboo or other durable and natural material toothbrush can make a great item for an eco-friendly gift set. 

I understand this one might make you doubtful. 

Giving a client or employee a toothbrush might be a little too personal. 

Well, no!

What we’re trying to achieve is to first adopt and then promote an environmentally conscious strategy that’ll raise awareness on the urgency of the topic. 

Put another way, a strategy that’ll make your audience aware of the significance of such issues and will also show them that you’re an ally when it comes to fighting the speed with which the environmental catastrophe is coming. 

Plastic toothbrushes are one of the biggest problems in the plastic crisis and there are so many people out there that don’t even know that there’s an alternative. 

The National Geographic graphic that follows gives us some shocking facts about the use of plastic toothbrushes

Image Source: National Geographic

If we think about plastic toothbrushes not being recyclable, and the fact that one person uses around 300 toothbrushes during their lifetime, we understand that adopting an alternative seems like a necessity.

Why not give your employees and clients a beautiful, bamboo toothbrush with a fully compostable head?

Also, when it comes to pricing, this one is truly cost-effective. 

Why we like it: It replaces a non recyclable item – a plastic toothbrush – and it feels way more natural than touching plastic first thing in the morning. 

Ideal for: Corporate gift, giveaway, virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #10: Soap Bar

Our tenth sustainable product idea is a soap bar

Like the one that was given to 2021 Skucon attendees:

Image Source: Commonsku

This one is one of my personal favorites because, depending on the packaging, it can be a totally zero waste promotional product. 

In order for it to be fully sustainable, you should avoid distributing it with a plastic wrap — unless it’s compostable. 

Additionally, make sure that the soap itself is made out of biodegradable ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, and lemon, and comes with a zero waste packaging.

Why we like it: Natural cleaning products can be way more efficient than others and they’re also biodegradable. 

Ideal for: Virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #11: Recycled Materials Apparel

An apparel list item couldn’t be missing from our list. 

However, in this case, it’s a sustainable piece of clothing we’re talking about.

Image Source: PCNA

The jacket shown above is made of recycled polyester and even comes with a recycled zipper tape. 

The great thing about products like that – a hoodie, a full color t-shirt or a jacket – can be exactly like non-recycled ones in terms of variety, color choices, and customization options. 

This means that you can personalize them to match your company’s style while also making them a piece of clothing that the recipient will be proud to wear and promote its environmentally friendly credentials.

Why we like it: The environmental footprint of fast fashion and cheap, disposable clothing items is a huge problem right now. 

Recycled materials apparel give companies the chance to offer something that’s not destroying the planet even further, while helping to make use of functioning and useful clothing materials that would alternatively end up in the landfills.

Ideal for: Corporate gift, giveaway, virtual event, conference, or trade show

Product Idea #12: Biodegradable Spiral Notebook

The last product idea we think can be part of an eco-conscious gift set to employees and clients is a biodegradable or eco-friendly notebook

Have a look at this eco-friendly notebook. 

The hardcover is made out of recycled leather and it comes with a bamboo ballpoint pen.  

Image Source: PCNA

Some elements you should be looking for when aiming to include an eco-friendly notebook in your swag gift sets would be:

  • Recycled paper
  • Hemp paper
  • Acid-free paper
  • Recycled hardcovers
  • Eco-friendly or recycled wirebound
  • Eco-friendly adhesives – in case there are any adhesives
  • Vegetable inks

You might even decide to go for notebooks that have a plastic look hardcover. 

That’s OK as long as the hardcover is made from cornstarch and it’s not real plastic. 

In all cases, being environmentally conscious and doing your best to make every day in your company feel like an Earth day might mean that you need to be more conscious of all your choices, in terms of use of materials. 

It might also mean that you need to do rigorous research regarding  the products you’re using to promote your brand.

Luckily for you, the industry is getting more and more conscious of these significant issues. 

This basically means that you now have the chance of adopting an eco-friendly promotional approach all the way. 

To use Elizabeth Sergan’s words, “to stop spending billions on cheap conference swag”. 

Instead, companies should try more to use the full potential of swag. 

That is, to create experiences and products that will show appreciation and people will not only remember but also use them for a long time. 

Why we like it: It’s a useful alternative to sticky notes or other types of notebooks that might contain non eco friendly adhesives. 

Ideal for: Corporate gift, virtual event, conference, or trade show

Now Over to You

You now have a nice list of environmentally friendly promotional items and sustainable promotional products. 

Rest assured that sustainability isn’t just another trend. 

Green promotional products and eco-friendly swag is here to stay, alongside an authentic interest towards reducing your swag production footprint.

In that context, you should try to be an early-adopter of eco promo items and try to promote an Earth-friendly approach in your marketing. 

If you need help finding the right eco-friendly items and experiences to give as client gifts or to share with your employees, feel free to get in touch with us. 

Just leave us your message below and we’ll get back to you!

Featured image: Gemline

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