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There’s been a growing movement for businesses to act responsible in the ways they treat the environment, whether it’s through reducing harmful emissions, conserving energy, or producing/purchasing products made with sustainability in mind. Marketing promotional products, also known as swag, are one of the easiest and most effective ways to get the word out that your business cares.

Before introducing you to some of our favorite sustainable swag, let’s take a moment to briefly define swag and describe what makes swag sustainable.

What is Swag?

Swag, Stuff We All Get, is term used to describe the wide range of promotional products given as employee and corporate gifts or distributed at trade shows and promotional events. Its purpose is to create a favorable impression and positive brand image and increase staff morale, build customer trust, and continue to create bonds with repeated use. Swag can include a wide range of items such as apparel, tech or travel items, candles, drinkware, tote bags, and office supplies, just the scratch the surface of options. To be considered swag, it should have the name or branding of the business prominently or tastefully displayed to spread brand awareness.

What Makes Swag Sustainable?

Consumer demand is dictating a move towards environmentally friendly, sustainable, and recyclable materials. This material can be sourced sustainably, produce a small carbon footprint in production, last longer and be easy to repair or recycle, and have low negative toxic environmental impact. Some of the most common natural materials used in swag and promotional marketing include recycled fabrics like PET fabrics and recycled cotton, bamboo, hemp, and other biodegradable substances.

The Growing Movement for Sustainable Swag

Consumers today are more conscious than ever of the ways the products they purchase and, yes, the gifts they receive impact the planet.. A Global Ad impressions study found that 46% of people have a more favorable opinion of a company if the branded corporate gift they receive is environmentally friendly.
One goal of promotional gifts and swag is to convey shared values to consumers. Businesses must adapt to the latest trends in customer behavior to stay current on the issues that matter most to their customers. When people see, touch, handle, and wear swag that you share that has been sourced from sustainable sources, you’re telling them that your business is committed to making a positive impact on our world.

This Year’s Sustainable Swag Trends

The challenge every business that uses sustainable swag faces is the same every year: finding new, creative, and memorable swag items that make people sit up and take notice. Finding a great gift for your employees and clients means matching it to their way of life. Here are a few popular sustainable swag items you might want to put on your list to make a memorable impression.

  • Carry-All Swag

    People always need a way to carry their stuff. Practically everywhere they go, they’re taking something with them or bringing something back. You can find the perfect travel swag to match their lifestyle.

    • Quick trips to the market? A reusable tote bag to carry groceries and household purchases is a terrific promotional gift that will get used. Emblazoned with your logo, it will stand out in a sea of plastic bags and reflect your commitment to the environment.

    • Get-aways for a day or a weekend? When your staff and clients pack and carry a branded recycled backpack cooler, your commitment to a cleaner and greener way of life world travels with them. This sustainable and popular swag lets them keep food cold or stored conveniently, and can have carrying handles or shoulder straps that make it perfect for a picnic or a hike.

    • Traveling for business or pleasure? Durable recycled duffel bags and luggage carrying your logo on the outside will get noticed in busy airport terminals and other transportation centers. Your gift, with zippered pockets, adjustable shoulder straps, or top grab handles and wheels, will be appreciated and used by people on the move.

  • Customized Water Bottles and Tumblers

    At home, in the office, or when travelling about, people have water bottles, tumblers, and mugs with them. When you give sustainable drinkware swag you’re reducing the use of plastic and paper cups that end up clogging landfills.

    • Branded sustainable water bottles look great at the gym and keep liquids handy throughout a workout. They make an especially pleasant statement when manufactured using recycled plastic or other eco-friendly materials and have your logo proudly printed on the outside.

    • Reusable sustainable tumblers will get used by those coffee and tea lovers who love to fill up at coffee shops or take their drinks along when they hit the road. You can make your swag tumblers stand out and truly represent your company with either printed or engraved company logo displayed where it can’t be missed.

  • Personal care

    Giving your employees and clients gifts they can use for personal care and health shows that you care about their well-being.

    • Eco-friendly blankets provide comfort and warmth that’s derived from sustainable organic fabric and material.

    • Customized yoga mats are a wonderful way to pamper and provide a personalized gift that contributes to their mental and physical health. This wellness gift provides fun branding opportunities on both the yoga mat and carrying case it comes with.

    • Branded, sustainable sleep masks provide sweet dreams and help people block out distractions for deeper and better-quality sleep. Did you also know that sleep masks have been shown to relieve headaches, minimize dry eyes, and help people fall asleep faster? Give your clients the gift of a good night’s sleep.

  • Office/Remote

    Whether your gift recipient works in the office or remotely, printed notebooks and tech swag can be both useful and fun. A promotional office gift works best when it evolves into being something used every day or becomes an essential component of keeping them connected and more productive.
    • Even in a world of tech, recycled notebooks are still a treasured and used gift, and when manufactured from previously paper and other materials and bearing your logo, you help people stay organized while also going greener.

    • A custom, eco-friendly mouse pad is ideal sustainable swag that can brighten up a desktop, enhance the movement of the mouse, and be a daily reminder of your brand. It can be made of sustainable material like bamboo, cork, and recycled rubber that will last a long, long time.

    • Wireless charging stations make terrific swag because you’re giving your staff and clients the gift of convenience while also reducing electronic waste and eliminating the need for batteries. Every time they hook their phone or mobile device to the branded wireless charging dock, they’ll appreciate how you’ve made their lives easier and the world a little cleaner.

3 Emerging Sustainable Swag Trends for 2024

It’s never too early to start planning ahead to make sure that your company’s sustainable swag will continue to stand out from the competition and show your commitment to the environment. Here are some trends you can prepare for.

  • Sustainable and organic apparel as swag will never go out of fashion. Apparel will continue to be one of the most favored and effective ways for companies to promote themselves.

  • Sustainable kitchenware and lunchbox sets will make it easier for anyone returning to the office to save money and the environment when they bring their meals to the office in lunch boxes or reusable insulated bags. It’s easy to stylishly decorate these items that can be made from recycled materials or natural substances like bamboo or cork with colorful designs and branding.

  • Sustainable employee welcome kits create a sense of belonging and comradeship for your remote and in-office employees with welcome kits. Kits can quickly and easily be used to reflect and instill your company’s culture and values. These can include practical and useful items made from recyclable materials to demonstrate an understanding of the employee’s day-to-day activities.

Few better ways exist to show your employees and clients than through the sustainable swag and eco-friendly promotional products you give away to promote your business.

Contact a Marketing.com swag and promotional marketing expert today to learn more about how we can help you connect the dots to build stronger relationships with clients and employees.