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Tip #8: Avoid and Sooth Nasty Sunburns

Calendula blossomToday is the third post in our outdoor series matching Lifehacker’s Top 10 Outdoor Tips for a More Pleasant Summer list with some suggestions of our own for how to increase the summer pleasure quotient of clients, customers or hard-working staff.
Today we have some suggestions for protecting your skin as well as a recipe for a soothing balm in case you do get burned.
The Environmental Working Group has a mission to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. They have an action fund that advocates on Capitol Hill for “health protective and subsidy-shifting policies.” They also have a great set of resources on their website, including the 2011 Sunscreen Safety Guide (also available for iphone) to help you find a sunscreen which will protect you from the sun without exposing you to chemicals that are dangerous. To make your own soothing Calendula salve, and learn a few culinary uses of the fiery orange blossom, check out WNYC’s Last Chance Foods: Herbal Flower Power .

Ask and You Shall Go Green

There’s an old adage that goes back to Biblical times: “Ask, and Ye Shall Receive.” There are lots of ways to go green when it comes to promotional items for your business, event or product. We’ve been talking quite a bit about bamboo because it’s a renewable source; it’s also considered good luck in Chinese culture and symbolizes endurance, durability and health, so it’s a great thank-you gift for a new business or venture. But we’ve also mentioned that you don’t have to literally go green to make your business eco-friendly. Ask your promo consultant to find companies that follow sustainable practices or offer environmentally friendly items. Even if the actual product isn’t as eco-friendly as it could be, supporting companies that operate in a responsible way is a big step. And promoting the fact that you work exclusively with said companies can boost your image with clients and customers, and make them feel that when they’re supporting your business they’re part of the solution. But don’t simply pay lip service: Incorporate promotional items that are practical but also play a role in making the world a better, greener place. Need some ideas? Ask us, and ye shall go green!

Smart Is the New Green

One of the simplest ways to go green won’t cost you anything but brain power. Back in November, we talked about ways to brand your product, project or business on a budget. Our very first tip was to brand smart, not cheap. Just because your resources are limited, that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart when gift-giving, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t be smart while at the same time trying to go green. Extend your brand by making a long-term investment: A single shoot bamboo potted plant with your brand on it, which we mentioned in our last post, will keep you on your clients’ and colleagues’ radars for months, if not years. And the cost is the same or less than many high-end, not-so-eco-friendly promotional items. And your idea doesn’t even need to be literally green either. Strategically designed promotional ideas that are specific and targeted to your audience or marketing goals, as opposed to things your clients might toss in the trash, are eco-friendlier by sheer virtue of their usefulness. Browse through the Branding Ideas Blog for some fresh ideas or drop us a line to talk about ways your business can go green!

ECO Chic: Bamboo

Flooring, clothing, building materials, furnishings, bedding, towels, rugs, you name it. Bamboo is fast becoming one of the most popular, eco-friendly materials. The reason bamboo is so eco-friendly is because it can be grown quickly without the use of environmentally unsound pesticides, fertilizers, or even natural resources like water. Bamboo also releases more oxygen into the atmosphere than other plants. Some of the perks: bamboo is moisture resistant and sturdier than many more conventional flooring woods, so it’s not only green, but practical too. Bamboo fabrics aren’t as environmentally sound as other bamboo-made products, but it’s still preferable to cotton.

Branding IdeasSM is committed to getting the word out about bamboo, and we offer a ton of eco-friendly, bamboo-made products: everything from beach towels, which are perfect for the summer, to robes and socks, to cookware and coasters. And our featured bamboo item, is our single shoot pot set, which includes a 6″ bamboo shoot, 3″ 100% biodegradable bamboo fiber pot, and 1 lb. of assorted-color polished rock filler.

Need some more bamboo-related or other green ideas? Drop us a line or check out our eco-friendly promotional products!

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!).

Experience Is Everything

Walk around Manhattan these days and you’re likely to run into one of many “green” sitting areas, where pedestrians can eat lunch, meet with friends or colleagues, or just sit and rest. On Earth Day last year, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced PlaNYC, a plan to enhance the city’s urban environment by focusing on five key areas (land, air, water, energy and transportation) shaped by local members of the environmental, business, community and legislative communities. One aspect of the plan is to increase access to open spaces. PlaNYC also aims to create 800 new “greenstreets,” a citywide program launched back in 1996 by the Department of Parks & Recreation and the Department of Transportation to convert traffic islands and medians into green spaces.

This initiative is not only vital to the environment (the city hopes to decrease global warming emissions by 30%) but to the overall quality of life of New York City’s residents, employees and tourists. A more pleasant environment ultimately means happier workers and shoppers, and that leads to better business and a boost for the city’s economy. It makes us wonder what sprucing up the environment at work or in your home office could do for your bottom line. Chefs learned ages ago that presentation can actually make food taste better and marketing executives have long known that attractive packaging can make products more appealing to consumers, so why not enhance your work experience and the world by going green or increasing the comfort level in other ways? We’ll be brainstorming new ideas to help create a more enjoyable work environment and posting them right here, so check back regularly!