Friday, July 25, 2008

Green Useless Stuff is Still Clutter

coffee mug

From today's San Francisco Chronicle, by the excellent writer Ilana DeBare:
Is green swag an oxymoron?

Some folks would say yes. They'd argue that promotional products - those ubiquitous logo-branded pens, baseball caps and so on - are inherently wasteful and unnecessary.

But not John Borg. A longtime brand marketing expert in San Francisco, Borg has started a green promotional products company called Eco Imprints.

"Unfortunately a lot of promotional products end up in the landfill," said Borg, whose company opened its doors in November. "We are trying a fresh approach, to get people to think about the products they use, and what happens when their useful life is over."
Some of the stuff at Eco Imprints is clever - a mug made from recycled electronics, for example, as shown above - but I still don't need yet another mug. I don't need another key chain or another pen, either.

Some items they sell might be useful to some people, but not others - a common problem in any one-gift-for-all situation. (Another organizer I know actually likes and uses those pens I said I don't want.) But as I glance through the company's on-line catalog, I see that almost everything listed is something I'd decline if it were offered to me.

What about you, readers? Are there any promotional products you've received that you actually use or love?

Related Posts:
Who Needs Another Coffee Mug? Pen? Free Calendar?
Get Your Free Valentine's Day Teddy Bear!


Gigi said...

Outside of pens (which are always needed) NO. Please no mugs, no shirts, no widgets as they go straight into the trash!

mermaids said...

the reusable totes. but other than that, i don't want stuff with a corporate logo printed all over it...even pens. my dh works for a major software company. he constantly gets logo stuff. we pass it along to the school to give out as prizes to the students. yes, it still makes it way to the landfill, but at least a teen gets a little thrill out of it along the way.

Jeri Dansky said...

I got an e-mail reply saying: "I do use those little letter openers with the protected razor blades in them. Canvas/nylon/cotton bags for shopping, beach, day trips. Pens some times, but get way too many. But that's about it."

Gigi, nice to hear from you!

Mermaids, it sounds like you have a reasonable way of handling stuff you can't just decline.

Anonymous said...

For the most part, yes I could live without any more "free" logo stuff. The mental effort to deal with it later is what is "costs."

Just wanted to mention though -- I was putting together some baskets for a local human services agency this spring. One of the items on their "most-needed list" was key chains. Who knew? So several unneeded freebies got passed along that way.


Jeri Dansky said...

Mary, thanks for the reminder that it's often worth seeing if someone actually wants that logo stuff before we assume it's useless and send it to landfill.

Michele said...

Jeri - just got a smile when I saw you linked to my pen fetish post. I agree with many people on this though - most swag does seem wasteful.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, I actually have received two swiss army knife-type devices. I use them both: the smaller in my purse and the other in my organizer toolkit. Love them!

Anonymous said...

USB drives, given away at conferences, actually allow me to scan and store physical artifacts. That's my kind of swag!