Choosing sustainable materials should be an essential part of sourcing eco-friendly promotional products.
How eco-friendly and sustainable are promotional products?
A zero-waste marketing strategy may sound a bit impossible but the promotional merchandise industry is taking it very seriously. As a business, we view it as a positive challenge to get more creative, earth-conscious and promote careful buying. It aligns with our core values of buying for longevity and purpose. We are getting asked more and more about the sustainability of materials, possibilities of recycling, zero waste merchandise and how promotional products can be utilised in an earth-conscious way and we are loving it as we have been advocating this way of thinking for over 14 years.
Responsible sourcing and eco-friendly production of promotional products.
Choosing sustainable materials should be an essential part of sourcing eco-friendly promotional products for all marketing teams.
The way we help marketers to do this is by:
- Select higher quality materials that naturally last longer.
- Ethically sourcing natural materials like hemp or organic cotton
- Source products made from recycled materials like RPET, mix recycled fabrics, recycled paper
- Consider whether finished products lend themselves to a recycling process - such as certain type of plastic, glass, stainless steel, aluminium
As a key player in the promotional merchandise industry, we are working with our supply chain towards a full ban of disposable promotional products with the aim to reduce non-biodegradable products to 0%. We want our customers to ditch the disposables and purchase items which encourage a zero-waste lifestyle and under consumption, such as reusable bamboo cutlery and eco-friendly reusable food containers (encourage the habit of taking food home in a doggy bag). In 2022 all items made from organic cotton, natural, recycled fabrics and hard recycled plastics will be produced under a certified label.
As a BPMA approved distributor of promotional merchandise Extravaganza takes its responsibilities seriously. All products are sourced from audited factories and produced with compliant and safe materials. Before it reaches the hands of a customer, it has passed several tests to ensure that it is safe for the health and safety of the end-user and that it meets European requirements. All our products are tested by independent and certified laboratories along the product development process. All certificates are available on request.
Sustainable printing process.
In all printing techniques, our supply chain is continuously reducing the use of solvent-based chemicals. So that during the printing process, they do not output any chemicals in the wastewater systems, but transport these chemicals to a chemical processing company. Therefore they can re-use water during the printing process. During screen and transfer printing, the ink is not thrown away but reused to create new Pantone colours. For 2022 our print team in Poland is looking to implement a full ink recycling system for all of our printing techniques.By reusing inks or using inkless printing techniques, they are able to reduce overall waste.There is a high focus on attention to detail during the digital phase of proof checking. This way we can reduce the number of misprints and the number of print quality claims as a percentage of our total number of printed products. This not only makes good business sense but helps us reduce waste. ero waste as an idea is important because overconsumption is one of the biggest causes of our climate change.
With our supply chain, we are reducing the use of plastic packing materials in the most efficient way we can. Therefore taking active action to reduce our environmental carbon footprint. In 2021 our factories have reduced the number of items or packaging containing virgin plastics to 49,9% and reduced the use of virgin plastics in packaging. At the office and on the production floor we are reusing paper packaging by using shredded cardboard boxes. We re-use existing packaging as much as possible, and by the beginning of 2022 most of our outbound packaging materials used will be sustainable or recycled. Overall it means that a big part of all of our packaging used is more sustainable packaging, made from natural-, recycled material or bioplastics. When we cannot avoid plastic material or reuse it ourselves, we ensure it will be recycled or transferred to a third party for further recycling. For paper promotional products like catalogues and folders, we use sustainable or certified recycled paper. Our production team in Poland has reduced the CO2 emissions of their inbound freight by consolidating container loading to 94%. By partnering with environmentally positive forwarders, we are also reducing the CO2 emissions of our outbound freight.
So when it comes to promotional products what is the sustainable choice?
Knowledge is power and if we can help to educate our customers properly then it should lead to a better, sustainable choice without compromising brand values.
Eco-friendly jargon buster.
Below is a low down of some of the jargon thrown around when it comes to eco-friendly promotional merchandise and garments so we want to break it down into plain English so that we are all able to understand what it all means.
Reusable promotional products.
Items made from natural and reusable materials such as glass and slate can be used over and over again. They are a durable choice that not only helps in reducing waste but also results in high-quality items with a more premium feel to them. They can also be recycled. Glass is a sustainable and budget-friendly material, it is sustainable, reusable and speaks high quality.
Slate is a mineral product 100% natural. Its production process is simple and has a low environmental impact with minimum manufacturing as it is handcrafted from the quarry. Natural slate can be easily recycled at the end of its life and comes in intresting products such as slate coasters.
Recycled Materials such as recycled ABS, recycled PET, recycled paper.
The good news is we are all actively recycling at home and in our businesses which has encouraged a whole new generation of upcycled and recycled promotional products. Products made from recycled ABS, PET and Recycled Paper are taking the industry by storm. Recycled ABS Plastic which is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene can be made into many products as it is a common thermoplastic used to make light, rigid, moulded products such as pipe, car body parts, wheel covers, and protective headgear.
The advantages of Recycled ABS plastic is its relatively low melting point and glass transition temperature, making ABS easy to melt down and use in injection moulding. This makes it versatile for a great number of promotional products. ABS can also be finished to a huge range of styles including colour and surface texture options means it has a lower density so it’s fairly lightweight.
RPET stands for recycled polyethene terephthalate or recycled PET. PET is a strong, durable and recyclable material that is used for soda bottles, water bottles and food jars, while RPET can be made into such products as blankets, insulation, car parts, shoes and more. A large part of the solid waste in the world is down to packaging waste. By recycling PET the promotional merchandise industry is able to give this material a new lease of life.
Recycled paper promotions.
An average tree can be used to produce over 8000 pieces of paper and the promo industry is one of the first to put recycled paper to good use. Recycled promotional products not only create a positive image in front of your customers, but also create a long-lasting relationship with them because they are durable and long-lasting and show that you help support sustainability and going green.
What is GOTS?
The GOTS –Global Organic Textile Standard– is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres. This standard also includes ecological/environmental (f.e. energy, water, wastewater and chemical use) and social criteria. The entire textile supply chain is backed up by independent certification and traceability is key in this process. GOTS is a dynamic standard, which monitors and promotes constant progress towards the development of better textile processing methods. They collaborate with international stakeholders in the textile and apparel industry, chemical suppliers, organic farming and environmental organisations, workers' rights groups and labour unions. The implementation of GOTS reconciles the need of the textile industry for one global standard with consumers' desire for transparency.
The GOTS logo can only be applied to the final product if all stages comply with the GOTS criteria. Therefore, all processors, manufacturers, and traders of textiles need to be certified. Via our supply chain, we are able to offer full certification of all of our GOTS certified organic cotton products such as orissa organic cotton tote bag, orissa drawstring bag, orissa organic cotton apron. As well as GOTS certified products our factory is GOTS, GRS certified embroidery as well as certified screen print and transfer.
What is GRS?
The GRS certification is intended to meet the needs of companies looking to verify the recycled content of their products (both finished and intermediate) and to verify responsible social, environmental, and chemical practices in their production. With an increased demand for recycled material in promotional products, a GRS certification will give our customers the assurance that this product is certified from source to print. Our factory is able to offer certified branding on all GOTS and GRS certified products. This gives assurance that the products are certified in regards to the whole production process from raw materials used up to the final decoration process. Our supplier is an ISO 14001 certified plant in Poland which combines 23,000 m² warehousing facilities with a 20,000 m² production plant which enables pan-European centralization of services.
Certified decoration methods.
To be able to sell GOTS/GRS certified printed products, the decoration must also be GOTS/GRS certified. Decoration by a certified decorator with approved inks or yarns is necessary to be able to sell certified printed products. If the product is ordered blank and then decorated with a non-GOTS/GRS certified method the product is no longer certified and the hangtag must be removed. Unique at Extravaganza is is that we offer GOTS/GRS certified products as well as certified decoration methods. Our decoration facility in Poland is certified to decorate the GOTS/GRS products with certified embroidery, screenprint and transfer. It is super important that this is done under one roof.
What is FSC?
FSC® is dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide and helps to take care of forests for future generations. This certification guarantees a responsible and transparent supply and production chain by also auditing the ordering processes, IT systems, warehouse management, staff training, and health and safety in the workplace. The Chain-of-Custody certification applies to the majority of paper products manufactured by our supply chain. One option is to check for FSC® certification. The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) is the world’s most trusted sustainable forest management solution, promoting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forest.
What is Oeko-Tex?
Oeko-Tex is a registered trade mark, representing the product labels and company certifications issued and other services provided by the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology. Oeko-Tex tests and certifies products made from textiles. Think clothing, accessories, home textiles, furniture and other decor items. This sign is normally found on garments or other products that carry the STANDARD 100 label, you can be certain that every little part of this article has been tested for harmful substances and that the article, therefore, is harmless for human health, ensuring the legal conformity of the tested textile products are safe.Our Elevate products are all OEKO-TEX® certified.
What is REACH? CE and RoHS?
Product compliance is monitored throughout the entire production life cycle. We work hard to meet our customers’ high expectations and transparency requirements for the European markets. All products are subject to compliance reviews prior to production, to make sure the latest requirements are being met, and are tested on actual production in both our own testing facilities and at third-party testing labs. Our European supplier works with an in-house compliance team, an extensive compliance flowchart, and a 3rd party compliance consultancy. The development of their chemical tool and food safety protocols ensures the highest attention to deliver a compliant product. Declarations and statements of Compliance are available direct from email@example.com.