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How to Incorporate Sustainable Swag for Your Brand in 2022

How to Incorporate Sustainable Swag for Your Brand in 2022
March 5, 2020

In this article

Editor's note: Enjoy the fresh swag! We've updated this content for 2022.

The swag space is cluttered with an infinite amount of options, and the result is a lot of unwanted, poor-quality swag is discarded as trash.

That’s a waste — literally.

Your next swag project can sidestep that without missing a beat. And surprise, surprise, the first step in being sustainable is providing swag everyone will love!

But if this is your first go at putting together a swag project, you may be feeling a little lost. Here are four things to know about getting started with sustainable swag:

  1. Use high quality items people will love and use
  2. Choose sustainably-sourced items and recycled materials
  3. Focus on products that replace single-use items
  4. Partner with suppliers/brands that support sustainability efforts

Tip #1. Use high quality items people will love and use

You’ve heard the saying, “garbage in, garbage out”?

High quality isn’t about spending the most bank you possibly can. Rather, it’s an acknowledgment that for the people important to your company, you’re dedicated to getting the best swag out there. Because the quality of the swag you pick is as much a message as the words you put on the card.

The best swag for your team will depend on many things, including your company culture, your team’s specific interests, and hobbies (think everything from custom-branded golf balls to artisanal chocolate, old school record players, and doggie bandanas!), their day-to-day activities, and even the brands and companies that resonate with them.

In the end, don’t forget that people are smart - they will know the difference between poorly-made swag and swag that represents a company’s brand. Which one would you rather give?

So if you’re looking for high-quality items people love… these are some of our favorite sustainable brands that have great quality and also give back to help offset any practices that are not eco-friendly.


1. Miir

SWAG HIGHLIGHTS: MiiR Camp Cup - 12 Oz, MiiR Vacuum Insulated Tumbler - 16 Oz.

THE CREW SAYS: Miir offers high-quality drinkware that is made to last. With each product, a give code correlates to a sustainability project it helped fund.


2. Day Owl

SWAG HIGHLIGHTS: Day Owl Backpack, Day Owl Cord Pouch

THE CREW SAYS: Day Owl backpacks are made of sturdy First Mile waxed canvas, LWG certified genuine leather, and water-repellant neoprene. The canvas in particular is worth raving about: it’s more durable, weather-resistant, and sustainable than traditional cotton. As a bonus, the company offers free repairs for life. This is a bag meant to grow with you. In Day Owl’s words: It’s designed to last forever, so you can get up to whatever.

💡 Learn more about the Day Owl story at the SwagUp Brand Spotlight

Tip #2. Choose sustainably-sourced items and recycled materials

Sustainability begins at the source, and our items are chosen with that in mind.

We pay attention to details like the kind of materials used, production and labor practices, and how companies are using their profits to make the world a little better than yesterday.

If you think sustainability and quality are mutually exclusive, now is the perfect time to ditch that old assumption. Especially in 2021, many popular brands offer products that are loved for their functionality as well as their impact on the environment.


3. Karst

SWAG HIGHLIGHTS: Karst Stonepaper Notebook

THE CREW SAYS: Made entirely from stone paper (no trees!) and are water- and tear- proof. And we mean waterproof - as in don’t sweat the early morning coffee run spill, because your notebook is 100% fine. Plus the smooth texture of the pages and flat-lay binding provide ample comfort and writing space for your notes and ideas. This is the perfect low-tech companion to your high-tech devices.

Every Karst Stonepaper Notebook purchase plants a tree.

  • 120-micron thick paper (equivalent to 100gsm)
  • Printed with soy ink
  • Unique waterproof cover
  • Tear resistant
  • Expandable back pocket for storage
  • Thread bound to lay completely flat
  • Divider ribbon with heat sealed tip
  • Rounded corners
  • No bleed-through of ink through paper


4. AS Colour

SWAG HIGHLIGHTS: AS Colour Organic Tee

THE CREW SAYS: Made from premium cotton grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides. That’s soft without ruining the environment.

Tip #3. Focus on products that replace single-use items

Quick, pop quiz - have you used or been handed a plastic bag/water bottle in the past two weeks?

If the answer is yes, you might not have even thought about it at the moment!

We all have our individual habits and routines that become second nature to us. That’s why intentionally designing for sustainable practices, whether that’s in life or work, can make all the difference.

For example, swapping out single-use items with reusable products is a simple way to help the environment. Bonus: they make great gifts! Think soft totes and stylish tumblers made from abundantly available natural resources.

Some of our favorite finds include a bamboo cutlery set, a reusable stainless steel straw set, and a pack of Recycled Cotton Business Cards from Moo.


5. Moo

SWAG HIGHLIGHTS: Recycled Cotton Business Cards

THE CREW SAYS: This one’s for the teams looking for swag that separates them from the rest. Moo collaborated with Mohawk to created Cotton Business Cards made from 100% recycled T-shirt offcuts – stuff that normally gets thrown away! As well as being tree-free, they’re also bright white, subtly textured and feel crisp. So you can do good AND look good.

  • 110lb weight, 18pt thickness
  • An uncoated finish you can write on
  • Naturally textured
  • Bright white (colors print vividly)
  • Standard 3.5" x 2.0"

Tip #4. Partner with suppliers/brands that support sustainability efforts

Custom swag projects are great opportunities to cultivate the right culture.

As you begin your next swag project, consider the brands and suppliers represented in your offerings. It’s not only the chance to walk the walk (and not just talk the talk) but also a chance to pleasantly surprise your employees with the brands and products they love and have been eyeing for themselves.

If you’ve got a practice of hiring young talent too, then this move will strike the right chord with them as sustainability and social impact is a significant factor in their career decisions - according to Fast Company, most millennials would take a pay cut to work at a environmentally responsible company! Now that’s worth a pause before you pick your company swag.


6. Welly

SWAG HIGHLIGHTS: Welly Traveler bottle

THE CREW SAYS: The Welly Traveler bottle not only is a stylish bottle but also helps provide clean water to communities globally. They offer this bottle in a few colors and laser engraved decorative options.


A thoughtful choice can turn into an unexpected point of delight for employees browsing a company swag catalog, or a new hire opening their welcome kit. As an extension of your brand, your swag holds a lot of power.

Join us in being part of a better tomorrow – eliminate the unnecessary and choose sustainability. Ready to get started? Get going with a Swag Expert today! 🚀

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