Swag has gotten a lot of flak for being bad for the environment. After the pandemic, Fast Company even published an article claiming, “There’s mounting evidence that most of these goods quickly end up in the trash.” Ouch.

There’s been a shift around the world toward more environmentally friendly decisions. In fact, 85% of people think sustainably when making purchases. It’s no different when ordering promotional items.

Luckily, there are a ton of eco promotional items you can buy. Here are sustainable ideas that contribute to a happier planet.

1. Organic Cotton Tote Bags

custom organic cotton tote bags

Cotton is a naturally made material, but when it’s treated with chemicals, it becomes less eco-friendly. That’s why organic cotton is better if you want eco-friendly swag.

Reusable tote bags have their critics, but no matter what, they’re always more sustainable than plastic bags, which take as long as 1,000 years to decompose in landfills. Pick up these organic cotton tote bags for a trade show or to sell in your grocery store.

2. Biodegradable Promo Pens

biodegradable promotional pens

Don’t you hate when you need a pen and can’t find one? That’s why it’s mind-blowing to hear that 1.6 billion disposable pens are thrown out every year according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Once your pen’s out of ink, it may as well give back to the planet. Try these biodegradable pens, which are made with corn plastic and don’t clog up landfills.

3. Bamboo Water Bottles

custom bamboo water bottles

Pandas, lemurs, and monkeys like eating bamboo, but this sustainable material is also used in eco promotional items. Take these custom water bottles, for instance, which have vacuum insulation and an all-natural bamboo body and cap.

With 80% of disposable water bottles ending up in landfills, these bamboo water bottles are a sustainable alternative. Plus, bamboo looks more sophisticated than plastic.

4. Jute Coaster Set

custom jute coaster set

Jute, a vegetable fiber that grows in tropical locations, is used to make many sustainable products, from clothes and towels to rugs and curtains. You’ll also often see jute tote bags at organic stores and farmer’s markets.

If you need small gifts or party favors, then these jute coaster sets are an excellent choice. The set includes three natural wood coasters housed inside a tiny jute bag. Jute only takes 2 to 3 months to completely degrade, so even if you don’t want the bag, you’re not harming the planet.

5. Sunflower Oil Lip Balm

Sunflower Oil Promo Lip Balm

Who knows what chemicals are in lip balm? That’s why many people are moving toward cosmetics made with natural ingredients. In fact, the organic beauty industry is projected to be worth over $20 billion by 2024.

This organic lip balm belongs in that group as it’s made with sunflower oil and 95% organic beeswax. Don’t throw the tube away after the balm is gone! You can upcycle it into a pill holder, jewelry case, or use it for arts & crafts projects.

6. Wheat Straw Sunglasses

custom wheat straw sunglasses

Plastic is one of the most popular materials in the world, but it’s also a demon in disguise. It takes up to 450 years to decompose, and when it does, it releases harmful toxins that pollute the soil, air, and water. Yikes.

The move toward environmentally friendly products is only possible if we start using more sustainable materials – like wheat straw! Rather than becoming waste, the stalk left over after the grains are harvested (aka wheat straw) is used to make a ton of eco promo items like pens, utensil sets, tumblers, and these stylish custom wheat sunglasses!

7. Promotional Flower Seeds

promotional flower seeds

Plants and flowers release about half of the carbon dioxide that they absorb. This is good since without carbon dioxide we’d basically be in another Ice Age. Release more CO2 into the air by handing out promotional flower seeds!

Choose from 7 different flowers and start using your environmentally friendly swag in a creative way. You can give the packets away as part of an Earth Day promotion, order them for your school to encourage the next generation of green thumbs, or sell them for cheap to raise funds for your eco-friendly nonprofit.

8. Custom Silicone Straws

custom silicone straws

Disposable straws are brutal for the planet, but unfortunately the biodegradable straws popular at restaurants aren’t always better. Critics claim these straws give the drinks a weird taste.

If you’re in that camp, then these custom silicone straws are the perfect choice! They’re made from plastic, but unlike disposable straws, you just can wash them out and reuse them again and again. By doing so, you’re helping cut down on the over 500 million straws currently in landfills and oceans.

9. Burlap Spruce Tree Seedlings

promotional tree seedlings

You’re doing the planet a favor by using these tree seedling bags as promotional items. Each bag contains seeds to make one Colorado Blue Spruce. Plus, burlap is a natural fiber that quickly biodegrades so the bag won’t clog up landfills.

Trees are the most eco-friendly swag you can buy! They release both oxygen and carbon dioxide into the air, which is beneficial to all our health. In fact, one large tree can supply a day of oxygen for up to four people. Breathe in that fresh air!

10. Stone Paper Notebooks

custom stone paper notebooks

Let’s keep focusing on trees. Did you know that over 100,000 trees have to be cut down every year to make all the paper we use each year in the United States? Think about all the carbon dioxide that’s missing when those trees fall down!

These stone paper notebooks aren’t made with that kind of paper. They instead contain 65 pieces of mineral paper, which is a non-toxic biodegradable alternative. Use these eco-friendly journals at your office, hand them out as freebies, or sell them in your school bookstore.

Why You Should Use Eco Promotional Items

use eco-friendly swag

81% of consumers want businesses to make environmentally conscious choices in their advertising. You can win them over if you start marketing with sustainable materials!

Basically, think of green marketing as any eco-friendly promotional decision your business makes. Whether you order swag made from natural fibers, give away sunflower seeds for a grand opening, or host a tree-planting event in a local park, you’re doing something that benefits the planet.

Final Thoughts

The negative consequences of manufacturing won’t be completely eradicated by buying more environmentally friendly products, but it’s a step in the right direction. Your choices as a consumer have an impact on the planet.

It’s about time we start thinking of swag as trash! As long as you invest in items people will actually use, you can’t go wrong. Even better, try any of these environmentally friendly promo items!


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Arbor Day Foundation. Tree Facts. Retrieved from, https://www.arborday.org/trees/treefacts/

Bookblock. (2019, May 29). What is Stone Paper and Why Do People Love It? Retrieved from, https://business.bookblock.com/what-is-stone-paper/

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