Eco Friendly Trade Show Giveaways: All About Sustainability

Standing out at trade shows has a lot to do with what you’re handing out. Stand out from the crowd and show your company’s eco-consious ...
Natalie Kienzle
July 22, 2022
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Planning eco friendly trade show giveaways is easier than ever before. You don’t need a special promotion or even a company-wide green initiative measure. Just give trade show attendees what they want - quality products - and watch your brand name dominate at events. 

The goal of promotional giveaways at trade show events is to attract potential leads. The more people notice your booth, the more lead-generating power you are going to gain. Eco friendly trade show giveaways have become more popular as individuals and companies place more importance on sustainable products and lifestyles.  

Your company name and logo can be a part of green initiatives and earn you new clients. We discuss why offering an eco friendly item is important and offer a list of popular products.

Eco Friendly Trade Show Giveaways: Rising Popularity

Giveaways and trade shows have always gone hand in hand. There are whole companies dedicated to producing high-quality swag that businesses can use to promote their brand and attract new customers

Does it really matter whether that product is eco friendly or not? It matters if you want to keep attracting consumers. 

A recent study from the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) focused on the impact eco friendly promotional products had on consumers. They found that on average, 46% of people thought better of a company that provided environmentally friendly gear. 

For companies that try to reach specific audiences at trade shows, they also released which age groups were most influenced by eco friendly giveaways. 

Favorable Opinions of Eco Friendly Promo Options by Age Group*

18 - 35 45% 
35 - 54 40%
55+ 53%
*Source: ASI Research Group

Gaining favor as a company is an important part of marketing. The results also reveal that the 55 and up age group is the one most impacted by eco friendly products. Why is this significant?

According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, that generation currently holds 51% of the nation’s wealth - which means they have the majority of the nation’s buying power. Even more important for companies still on the fence about eco friendly items, is how much that translates into actual purchases. 

A separate study found that 59% of that age group is willing to pay extra for sustainable products. It stands to reason that if they are willing to pay for it - they are going to be really happy to get it for free too. 

Eco friendly trade show giveaways external charger in a woman's hands

Types of Eco Friendly Promotional Products

Once you make the decision to invest in some eco friendly options for trade shows, you might be wondering what actually qualifies. Is it a plantable business card? A biodegradable stress ball?  

Yes, these things qualify, but the better news is that you don’t have to go to extremes to offer eco friendly options. Let’s consider a few different ways your swag can go green. 

Being Reusable

Providing an item that can be used more than once automatically makes it eco friendly. This can mean everything from tote bags to refillable water bottles. Not only are these items less likely to end up in the trash, but they also have the ability to provide promotional benefits long after a trade show is over. 

In fact, 57% of people asked said that they had held on to good promo products for more than five years

Top reusable promo products include: 

  • Flash drives
  • Stylus pens
  • T-shirts
  • Stainless steel products (bottles, reusable straws)
  • Desk accessories 

If increased visibility is one of your trade show goals, reusable products are a great way to achieve them. 

Made From Recycled or Sustainable Materials

This category of eco friendly products tends to fit more traditional green thinking. The environmental factor here is simply what it’s made out of. Within this category, there are both reusable and disposable items. 

Common materials for these products include:

  • Recycled plastics: These days everything from hats to lunch boxes can be made from plastic fibers
  • Bamboo: This fast-growing plant has nearly endless applications and it’s a go-to material for higher-end corporate gifts like cheese board sets or phone stands.
  • Recycled Paper: Like plastic, recycled paper products now include notebooks, pencils, pens, and paper bags.
  • Wheat straw: A by-product of wheat harvesting, it resembles plastic and can be made into just about anything plastic can. 
  • Cotton and Jute: Often used to make t-shirts and bags, items made from these materials are eco friendly and vegan. 

These materials and others like them are now widely available and priced much like any other item. Aside from being sustainable, many are also biodegradable so when they do eventually get thrown out, they don’t negatively impact the environment.

Thanks to advances in technology, the list of quality products made from sustainable and recycled materials continues to grow. There also isn’t a need to sacrifice bright colors for earth tones. 

Full-color processes can be used to make recycled and wood-based products just as colorful as anything that came before.   

Digital and Virtual Giveaways

Even as events like trade shows and sports events become normal again, many lifestyles changed forever because of the widespread lockdowns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Despite the millions eager to mingle with fellow attendees at trade shows, there remain a number of individuals who still prefer to avoid larger crowds and attend events virtually

These attendees are no less important than those physically present. Digitally based or virtual giveaways benefit those remaining at home. Information based along via QR codes or downloadable PDFs is a good option. 

For those that are physically in attendance, there are digitally geared gifts that help reduce waste. 

  • Flash drives: Mentioned once before, these can be handed out with preloaded information, minimizing the amount of printed material needed. 
  • Wireless charging pads: Great as a take-home gift for those still working remotely from home.
  • Solar-powered chargers: If you have an event being held outdoors, these are great and reduce the need for additional cables

At the end of the day, if it brings people to your booth and provides leads for future sales, it’s a good promo product. 

mason jar with stainless steel straws

10 Most Popular Sustainable Product Giveaways

To help you out, we’ve compiled a short list of 10 popular eco friendly trade show giveaway ideas that are both green and under $10. 

  1. Sunglasses: Can be made from recycled plastic, bamboo, and wheat straw
  2. Totes: Available in a variety of sizes and materials, even biodegradable
  3. Reusable sandwich and snack bags: Often made of recycled and laminated cloth
  4. Utensil kits: Never be without a fork, spoon, or knife again
  5. Fabric wristbands: As an alternative to rubber and molded plastic
  6. Stainless Steel straws: Rigid or collapsible and often coming with a cleaning brush
  7. Coasters: Made from everything from plantable paper to recycled tires
  8. Pens and Pencils: Made from bamboo, paper, and even recycled water bottles
  9. Notebooks: Made from recycled paper and often bringing an eco friendly pen
  10. Sports bottles: Made from recycled plastic and wheat straw

No matter what you’re promoting, or what your budget is, you can find eco friendly products that trade show attendees will love. Maximize your return on investment and give back to the environment. 

Move Your Green Gear With USA Trade Show Shipping

Getting ready for your next big trade show - or perhaps it’s your first? Don’t sweat the details and use USA Trade Show Shipping to deliver everything you need on time and in good shape.

With one of the best on-time delivery records in the industry, you can be sure your products will arrive with plenty of time for set up. 

We’ve assisted businesses participating in all the biggest trade shows, from the National Association of Builders (NAB) to SEMA. Our services beat the other guys every time. 

  • Drop trailers
  • Debris removal
  • Storage options
  • Palletizing and crating
  • All Risk Cargo Insurance

Save the foam stress relievers for the attendees. Partner with USA Trade Show Shipping today! Give us a call at (866) 415-8986 to speak directly with a representative or get an online quote now and start planning your event now.

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

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