Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Seasons GREENings ...Eco-Friendly Holiday Cards


Watch out ... the holidays are coming. For those of you who like to plan ahead, we've sourced a great line of recycled greeting cards featuring post-consumer recycled content, FSC-certified paper and greener printing processes. You can customize them with your own message and branding. We can also supply cool cards made of seeded paper that will grow your cheer long after holidays. You can choose many stock designs, greetings, fonts and colors — or send us your customized design to be printed directly on the wildflower seed paper.

Get your green cards here or here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Give Trees!


Here's a promotion that helps fight global warming and keeps useless plastic giveaways out of landfills. Seed-the-Future is a great new gift or incentive card concept from eco imprints. It gives brands an opportunity to show green values and lets consumers do something good for the planet. Each card, branded with the logo of your organization, allows the holder to have one or more trees planted in their name in a re-forestation project. The cards can be made of recycled materials or seeded paper. Use them to reward consumers for loyalty or conservation or to honor employees for reducing their impact on the environment.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Non-Toxic Promo Flash Drives with 100% Recycled Casing


We've recently added a number of stylish new usb drives to our growing mix of practical and eco friendlier promotional gadgets. This ergonomic shaped design is made of a 100% recycled ABS plastic exterior casing. Manufactured under stringent RoHS standards to keep toxics out of the environment. It's both PC and Mac compatible, and comes in recycled cardboard box. We can load it up for internet streaming or incorporate your branding, advertisement, brochure or website on screen every time the flash drive is used. Get more info here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sustainable Swag That Won't Break The Bank


We're often challenged by clients on tight deadlines who are in desperate need of fast-turn customized promotional products that are environmentally friendly and inexpensive.

We're big fans of the ecosmart line of recycled office products and desktop accessories from eco imprints. The small sampling of eco items pictured above include a pen caddie, mousepad, pen, business card holder, picture frame, and notebook.

All are made of 100% recycled kraft paper. In most cases, your logo or message can be beautifully blind debossed along with a recycled symbol, so the environmental theme is underscored and there is no need for chemical inks on your imprint. Many items can be mailed flat. Best of all, almost everything in the line is available for less than $3!

Contact eco imprints for more information on the ecosmart line and ideas on how to affordably green your next promotion.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Promise and Problems of Corn Plastic


Those of you who follow us know that we’ve been on an anti-petroleum-based-plastic crusade of sorts.

Because we’re trying to change an industry notorious for pimping tons of plastic swag that ends up languishing in landfills, we tend encourage the use of biodegradable alternatives to petroleum-based plastic materials whenever possible. We also advocate eliminating plastic use altogether when it’s not really needed.

We‘ve sourced a fairly wide selection of promotional product alternatives made in the USA from a promising biodegradable polymer called PLA, better known as corn plastic. PLA can also be made from other renewable plants, including soy, peanuts, and potatoes.

PLA is an alternative to plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the petroleum-based material used in many consumer goods and product packages.

You may have seen PLA packaging recently at Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, Target and Wild Oats Stores. The material was used to package the DVD of Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth. And from pens and heavy-duty coffee mugs (see photo above) to trade show badges, you can now put your logo on many practical corn plastic goods that might otherwise be made of conventional plastic.

Innovation is seldom without controversy. And there is a serious controversy in sustainability circles about whether or not corn-based plastic is really better for the environment. We recently attended an Eco Tuesday function in San Francisco, where several of us lingered after the event to carry on a spirited discussion about the pros and cons of corn-based plastics.

What follows are some points made on both sides of that discussion, and also our nuanced take on the issue:

BENEFITS:

• PLA biodegrades into harmless natural compounds in the right conditions. It is made in the USA from a renewable resource and can be composted into fertilizer. (On the flip side: conventional plastic is made from oil, contains toxins, and takes between 100 to 1000 years to break down.)

• PLA is recyclable as well as biodegradable – if you have the right facilities to do those things.

• PLA is part of a broader solution to keep petrol-plastic out of our environment and could take pressure off our bulging landfills and our environment (plastics already take up 25 percent of dumps by volume, and scientists recently reported a toxic vortex of plastic debris twice the size of Texas swirling around the Pacific Ocean).

• Producing PLA uses 65 percent less energy than producing regular plastics, according to independent analysis (funded by its maker). It also generates 68 percent fewer greenhouse gases, and contains no toxins.

• PLA is an affordable alternative to conventional plastic, so it’s reasonable for industry to adopt it.

NEGATIVES:

• Yes, it’s fully biodegradable within a few months, but you can’t just throw it in your backyard’s compost pile. To decompose, PLA requires a temperature of close to 200 degrees and a special type of composting facility.

• There are currently few facilities nationwide that accept PLA, and most municipalities don’t now have the capacity to sort it or accept it for compost or recycling. As such, under current systems, most PLA could end up in landfills, where it may not break down any faster or more thoroughly than other forms of plastic

• Corn is proving to be a less-than-ideal solution for fuels (Google: "corn ethanol problems") and some question its use for products and packaging at a time of growing global food shortages.

• Corn production is relatively energy and water intensive, uses pesticides and fertilizers to grow, and some genetically modified corn has reportedly been used in PLA. Corn production is also heavily subsidized by the U.S. government.

• Corn plastic products aren’t stable at high temperature, so it isn’t a good plastic alternative in all applications. PLA tends to melt at temperatures above 115 degrees. So your lightweight compostable corn plastic soda cup could morph into a pancake if you leave it in your car on a hot day.

OUR OPINION:

We acknowledge that there are many legitimate concerns with corn plastic, but we believe it should be further adopted and improved.

Our hope is that the use of alternatives to petroleum-based goods will encourage further innovation and perhaps even a revolution in composting. PLA is a relatively new technology in terms of mainstream usage and it has a great deal of promise if more people got behind it.

It’s wise to be wary of PLA’s limitations, but we should not dismiss it outright because the technology or systems to sort and compost it have not yet been perfected.

When I was a kid, very few people recycled, but today nearly every municipality has convenient recycling systems in place. While we’ve made real progress on that front, petrol-plastic usage and disposal is still not perfect. Some plastics can’t be easily recycled today, even here in San Francisco.

Corn plastic is not the “green bullet” some hype it to be. The technology needs improvement and it will take time to expand composting alternatives and create a convenient collection system that includes biodegradable plastics. What we really need to mainstream biodegradable plastic and other alternatives is a collective push for change. And change is what our environment needs right now.