We all know by now that plastics are not the most environmentally friendly and even though we still see plastics everywhere we look – many companies have taken steps to create plastic free alternative to your usual conference swag.
Non plastic does not have to mean you miss out on your usual conference and trade show tote bag swag- there are plenty of ecologically friendly alternatives that can help reduce your conference carbon footprint simply by using sustainable materials.
where’s the plastic at conferences?
Plastic at conferences is everywhere. We find it in our badges and badge holders, in our lanyards, in our promotional items such as pens, notebooks, stickers, even the tradeshow stands are made up of a LOT of plastics. If that’s not enough, we we also find it wrapped around the things we use before during and after the conference – that promo notebook did not wrap itself!
Lunch may consist of wrapped sandwiches, serviettes, plastic cutlery and plastic cups for water – most likely out of plastic water bottles… not to mention the coffee creamer and sugar in that all important mid morning coffee break! Phew – that’s a LOT of plastic in one place!
- Packaging. Most new items come in their own packaging – so even with the best of intentions we may still be bringing in plastic
- Synthetic Materials. Backdrops, table cloths, banners, giveaways – if not plastic then probably a plastic derivative
- Drinks Cans. Often lined with a plastic coating
- Glue. from sticky tape to stick it notes, glue contains plastic
- Coffee Cups. Single use cups, lids, straws and more – one of the worst offenders
- Tech. Cables, chargers, carry cases, plastic plastic plastic
- Bottles. Water bottles, pop bottles, cartons – likely a high percentage of plastic!
- ID Cards. That’s right – printed on plastic!
- Straws. Single use items – however plastic straws are now often outlawed at events
- Balloons. Event stands + balloons = plastic
- Pens. Chances are your old faithful swag pen is printable plastic
Recycled vs Recyclable
If plastic free wasn’t confusing enough, there are other things to consider. Biodegradable, compostable, recyclable, recycled, sustainable, partially-bio.. do any products fit the exact specification or are they simply better than the alternative? Let’s take a look!
top 12 plastic free alternatives
Cork isn’t just for wine – it has a wide range of applications for use in conference items such as bags, accessories, furniture, notepads and more
View Sustainable Swag #5 Cork Promotional Products
Just like plastic – wheat straw is lightweight and stands up to heavy treatment. Unlike plastic – this new bioplastic is not made from fossil fuels
View Sustainable Swag #6 Wheat Straw Promotional Products
Recyclable, compostable and biodegradable that disintegrate in landfills in as few as 5 years without leaving behind any toxic residue are definitely the way forward for the planet!
View Sustainable Swag #8 #8 Bio-D / Biodegradable
At #9 in our Top 12 Eco friendly materials for conference items is one of the most beautiful and sustainable eco solution yet!
Plantable seed paper or seeded paper badge holders.
View Sustainable Swag #9 Seed Paper Name Badges
Limestone paper. stone paper or rock paper is made from stone dust and a bio polythene resin. Waterproof and washable combining the advantage of both paper and plastic
View Sustainable Swag #10 Stone Paper Name Badges
Recycled Cardstock is the card equivalent of recycled paper. Available in plenty of colours and used on many printable products.
View Sustainable Swag #11 Recycled Name Badges, Recycled Card
Invented in Italy and printed in Canada – Apple Peel Journals are the new Vegan Leather in town!. Available in a range of colours
View Sustainable Swag #12 Apple Peel, Apple Peel Journals, Apple Paper
Check back for more information – every week we will be taking a deep dive into bioplastics and eco friendly products for your conference – including how it’s made and how you can help make your next conference as plastic free as possible!