Branding Ideas℠

ECO Cheat Sheet

Earth Day, April 22nd, is fast approaching, and in the next few weeks we’re going to be discussing strategically designed promotional items that are both eco-friendly and practical. Going green is a lot easier–and cost effective–than you think. The trick is to make sure you know what you’re talking about. We spoke with the Promotional Products Industry Assocation International, who told us that there are no set standards or definitions on what is and isn’t “eco” or environmentally safe. Eco-jargon can confuse industry professionals just as much as clients. Which is why we’ve decided to come up with a glossary of five key terms we think will be useful in helping make your transition from wasteful to sustainable (which just so happens to be one of those terms!):

1. Sustainable. In green language, something that is “sustainable” meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

2. Organic. “Organic” can be defined as “pertaining to, involving, or grown with fertilizers or pesticides of animal or vegetable origin, as distinguished from manufactured chemicals.” When it comes to manufacturing and processing, organic means that the product is made of natural elements that do not include any harsh, manmade chemicals.

3. Biodegradable. Let’s face it. Even with the best intentions of both you and your promotional consultant, not every client or customer is going to think your nifty, “useful” promotional item is worth keeping. That’s why it’s smart to choose biodegradable products whenever possible. “Biodegradable” simply means that something is capable of decaying through the action of living organisms. In other words, it won’t sit in a landfill or the Pacific Ocean after we’re all long gone.

4. Post-consumer waste. You might notice some eco-friendly products you’ve bought indicate that they’ve been made with a certain percentage (usually 51% to make it a majority but also cost effective) of post-consumer waste. “Post-consumer waste” simply means the garbage individuals usually discard. “Pre-consumer waste” is more often than not manufacturing bits and scraps that would normally be discarded.

5. Renewable: “Renewable” shouldn’t be confused with “reusable” or “recycled,” two terms you’re probably already familiar with. Renewable is simlilar to “sustainable.” Renewable materials can be replenished fairly easily, without much impact on the environment. Bamboo is a great renewable material (we’ll post more about the wonders of bamboo in a few days!).

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