by Heather Rykowski

As a promotional products distributor, we have found that more and more of our clients want to support the environment by purchasing products that support the Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  That is why we offer a variety of eco-friendly products that fit their requirements. From organic to sustainable, these products all contribute to a better environment. In this post, we will take a look at the different categories of eco-friendly products.


A biodegradable promotional product would be one that can decompose. An example of this is a product that is made out of biodegradable plastic such as water bottles, flying discs, and beverage napkins.


A promotional that is productive and limits waste is considered ‘efficient’.  A perfect example of this type of eco-friendly promotional would be a hot & cold beverage cup, hand-crank flashlight, or USB flash drive.


Another category of eco-friendly promotional products are those that are organic or made from natural ingredients. Organic can refer to plant-based dyes used in printing, plant seeds in paper, or organic oils used in an all-natural lip balm.

eco-friendly tote


Products that contain content that has been used before make up our recycled promotional items. Recycled plastic and paper are the most common contents found in these items such as tote bags, sports bottles, and notebooks.


According to Wikipedia, sustainable products provide environmental, social, and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle. A good example of this is products made of bamboo. Because of bamboo’s strength, durability, and fast regeneration, it is a considered one of the top sustainable materials on this planet. A common use of Bamboo is in desktop accessories, writing pens, and even bamboo-blend clothing.

Bamboo cheese boards

Bamboo cheese boards

When searching for eco-friendly promotional products, read the descriptions closely as a product may fit one of these categories completely or have a component that fits the category. For example, a bamboo pen would be considered sustainable but the plastic clasp portion could be a safe plastic. If ever in doubt, always ask your promotional products distributor.

As you shop for eco-friendly products, you will find that many of them have identifiers to keep you informed about the materials used or the regulating body that ensures their safety. Although not a complete list, here are some codes that you will see often when shopping for these products:

ASTM – American Society for Testing and Materials standards are used worldwide to improve product quality, enhance safety, and facilitate trade.

FDA – Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety of drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, radiation emitting products, and provides health information to the public.

CPSIA – The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 authorized new regulations and testing requirements for children’s products and some non-children’s products, and requires  manufacturers, importers, distributors, or retailers of consumer goods to comply with the CPSIA and other laws enforced by the CPSC.

Prop 65 – Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment.

PET – Polyethylene terephthalate is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family approved as  safe for contact with foods and beverages by the FDA and health-safety agencies throughout the world. PET does not contain bisphenol-A (BPA) or phthalates (plasticizers).

Safe for Food Contact – The international symbol for ‘food safe’ material is a wine glass and a fork symbol.

Food safe symbolShopping for eco-conscious promotional products is made easier when you know the types of products available and the way they are identified. When you contact us, we can point you in the right direction when it comes to finding promotional items that brand you as an environmentally conscious company.