10 Promotional Products with Staying Power by Silvia Milanova, February 10 2022, 7 Comments


The promotional products industry grew to $24.7b in 2018, with an annual growth of 6.3%. This is not some puny market—this leaves an impression.

However, this sector is also a contributor to single-use plastics. Although some larger products like outerwear and umbrellas are kept for more than a year and some donated afterwards, most items, especially smaller plastic ones, still end up in the garbage. Unfortunately, a lot of this plastic waste enters our oceans where it lingers and never leaves. In fact, plastic does not biodegrade; it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. These microplastics poison our food chain, spoil our groundwater and expose us to harmful chemicals. Not to mention how plastic in general endangers and kills wildlife. 

In addition to polluting our world, continuing to make and choose cheap, virgin plastic products misses an ample opportunity to make these products more sustainable and of good quality—something consumers appreciate, according to The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI). 

The truth is, consumers want quality. A 2019 consumer study by the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) revealed that 72% of consumers believe that the quality of a promo is directly related to the reputation of a company. In the United States, 40% of males and 53% of females also have a more favorable opinion of the advertiser if the promo product they received was environmentally friendly. And 27% of consumers purchased more Made in the USA products in 2019 than they did in 2018. So, it seems that consumers want promotional items, but they want these items to be valuable and to have staying power. It's also a benefit to the advertiser if consumers keep their products for longer because every time a person looks at the product, they are exposed to the brand and are more likely to do business with the brand. 

Consumers actually seek promotional products and 8 in 10 like receiving them (2019 Consumer Study, PPAI Research). This gives businesses a concrete reason to devote part of their marketing budgets to branded gifts. But we can do better. So, let's do better. 

If you’re looking to make your advertising kinder to the planet and are looking for sturdy, beautiful products that your customers will want to keep around, here are 10 of our favorites.

  1. rPET Original Shopping Bag with Stowaway Pouch
    – Shopping trips are for Saturdays! Or is that, Sunday? No, come on, impromptu stops at the store can happen on any day! And then they do, you need a robust, multi-purpose bag that can last for years. This reusable rPET shopping tote can help your clients drop the plastic bag habit for good! Both the bag and the pouch are customizable with your company's logo or tagline, which makes for excellent brand exposure. With a variety of colors to choose from, such as Chili Pepper red, Sea Green and Tillandsia Purple, this bag is sure to blend into any style, no matter how colorful. The bag and the pouch are entirely made of recycled polyester, crafted from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The best feature is that the bag compacts down into its attached pouch and becomes small enough to fit into your pocket or purse.
  2. Vacuum Insulated 25 oz. Multipurpose Bottle
    – Say goodbye to your toxic plastic bottle and hello to this beautiful, double-walled stainless steel bottle for all of your beverage needs. Not only is it versatile for any activity, but it's also suitable for many types of liquids, not just water! Pour your coffee, tea, shake, juice and even wine and keep it cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours. A metal ring lets you hook the bottle to your bag for on-the-go convenience. With an opening diameter of 3 inches, the bottle is easy to wash with a bottle brush. The insulation eliminates external condensation and the bottle’s slim profile makes it easy to carry around and place into different cup holders. If you choose to brand this bottle for your customers, you can also customize the cap style: Stainless Steel, Bamboo, White sports cap, Black sports cap.
  3. Apple Peel Paper Journal
     – Apple paper, huh?? You heard that right! The pages in this unique journal are made from apple peels and cores that are ground, powdered and blended into an organic paper. This is both sustainable and animal friendly. The journal has 160 pages and features soft rounded edges for a modern look. The cover is also made from 70% recycled leather materials and 30% apple peels. The journal comes with a gold ribbon marker and a back paper pocket to stash important notes. You can brand this notebook to impress your customers without harming any trees and eliminate food waste at the same time. What an eco footprint indeed!
  4. Upcycled Chopsticks Coasters
    – Sometimes, the best thing to do when looking for sustainable products is to seek small and local. While not everything can be found in your own neighborhood, keeping it in the same continent is still a step forward. When we found these coasters made from single-use chopsticks gathered from Vancouver-area restaurants, we knew they were special. Each set of 4 coasters tells the story of 300 recycled chopsticks that won’t end up in an overflowing landfill—a joint effort by management and their customers. These one-of-a-kind coasters are an ideal gift for birthday, corporate or wedding events, or for trade shows, summer parties and family gatherings. The bamboo pieces are entirely designed and crafted in Vancouver, BC.
  5. Stainless Steel Camper Mug
    – And sometimes, it’s time to camp. Ahh, the great outdoors—nothing beats some fresh air, a gorgeous view from a mountaintop and being one with the wilderness. This mug is the ideal companion to take on camping trips, tailgates, or to your lake house, cottage, or summer home—or any other home! It’s body and rim are made of double-walled 18/8 Stainless Steel while its powder-coated surface helps you get a stable grip even when in a rush. With a clear push-on lid and a swivel closure, it keeps your drink safely inside, no matter how wild your adventure. The copper vacuum insulation keeps your beverage hot for up to 8 hours or cold for up to 16 hours. 
  6. Bamboo Travel Utensil Set
    (in rPET carrying case) – Another great on-the-go mate is this To-Go Ware utensil set, made of renewable bamboo. Did you know that bamboo is actually a fast-growing tree-like grass? Depending on the variety, it can grow up to 3 feet per day and it requires little water and no pesticides or herbicides to farm. The best part may be that compared to an equivalent tree mass, bamboo produces 35% more oxygen and can absorb as much as 12 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare per year. And due to its strength and durability, bamboo seems like a terrific alternative to regular hardwood for making utensils that we want to last for years. The set includes a fork, spoon, knife and chopsticks, and is housed in a carrying case that’s made of recycled plastic bottles. When customizing this set for your customers, you can vary the colors of the carrying case and of the trim on the case. Here’s your company’s chance to show a commitment to a reusable lifestyle!
  7. Sprout Plantable Herb Pencil
    – A pencil that grows herbs? We are sold! The Sprout Pencil is the first plantable pencil in the world! Once the pencil becomes too short to use, you can plant it (point side up). After, when you water it regularly, the seeds that lived in the seed capsule (where the eraser usually is), will yield fragrant herbs, delicious vegetables, lovely flowers, or even spruce trees in no time. Each pencil is made with cedarwood, clay and graphite and is 100% sustainable and non-toxic. To make growing your pencil a breeze, each one also comes with instructions. The pencil is either made in Europe or in the USA and offers herbs such as cherry tomato, cilantro, and basil, and flowers such as daisies and carnations.
  8. Pirani Party Tumbler
    – Get any party sustainably started with this stainless steel, vacuum insulated, stackable Pirani tumbler. The reusable cup replaces many of the traditional, plastic red party cups—as many as 500 billion around the world each year—and keeps the party going, without all the guilt. In the Pirani tumbler, drinks stay ice cold for 12 hours and hot for up to 6 hours. The internal copper coating also increases insulation time by 10%-15%. The cup is BPA and phthalate free, does not sweat and has a powder coat finish so it’s comfortable to hold all night (or day) long. It also comes with a lifetime warranty. Bring your Pirani cup to your game-day tailgate, favorite coffee shop, your college dorm, your back deck or wherever life takes you. No matter the season, this cup can keep the occasion alive.
  9. Unisex 100% Certified Organic Cotton Tee
    – Nothing beats a cozy night at home, comfortably hugged by your favorite pair of sweatpants and a soft, lived-in cotton T-shirt. How can that get even better? If the shirt is made of luxurious organic cotton jersey, without the use of pesticides or other toxins that could irritate your skin. This is a great backdrop to your company’s logo or catchy tagline and can stay with your customers for years to come. The shirt is made entirely of certified GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) combed-ring spun organic cotton. It is side-seamed, features a set-on rib collar and has double-needle sleeve and bottom hems. With 19 colors to choose from, the shirt can highlight the beauty of any brand. Please note that due to the nature of the yarn, there will be slight color variations, especially for the lighter shades.
  10. 100% rPET fromRecycled Plastic Bottles Blanket  – Brrrr, we're feeling the chill—especially during the winter months. That's why we love to get engulfed by a large, comfy blanket, preferably in front of a fireplace or on the couch with our favorite TV show. But nothing kills our buzz more than a staticky synthetic throw made with toxic chemicals. So instead, we like to wrap ourselves up in something that's not only kinder to our skin, but also to our Earth. This blanket is made with recycled polyester from plastic water bottles that were diverted from landfills and oceans—making your comfort choice an eco one as well.

These are only a few of our most-cherished promotional products. We offer many more quality items that can be used as vehicles to showcase your brand and help grow your business. Sustainability and a better tomorrow are extremely important to us. We hope you’ll join us in our efforts to distribute valuable items that consumers will be happy to receive and will want to keep around for a long time.