Rush Order Tees Logo


Guide to Eco-Friendly Swag for Your Business or Event

Bryce Emley

May 10, 2024

Design Custom Gear

Personalize a custom t-shirt with our easy-to-use Design Studio

Start Designing

For brands, “green” isn’t just a color — it’s a signal to customers that they share similar values and aren’t willing to cut corners at the planet’s expense. That’s why it’s important to pick sustainable swag ideas that minimize environmental impact while keeping a small manufacturing imprint.

The good news is that sustainability doesn’t have to come at the expense of utility, quality, or availability. In fact, there’s a good chance that the popular swag ideas you may already be thinking about already come in environmentally friendly varieties. 

So, if you’re gearing up for your next conference or team gifting occasion, start your search with these sustainable promotional products.

What to Look for in Sustainable Swag


Unfortunately, some less reputable companies have tried to capitalize on the green movement by dishonestly positioning products as “eco-friendly” with clever labeling. It’s important to look past the green fonts on labels and do some due diligence when vetting products billed as being sustainable. 

Here are a few things to look for so you can both reduce your environmental footprint and build trust with potential customers.

  • Genuinely Useful: The first thing to look for really goes for all promotional products, not just sustainable ones: make sure your swag pieces will realistically be useful to people. This keeps your giveaway items from ending up in landfills while keeping your branding top of mind every time they get used.
  • Reusable: The next best thing to reducing is reusing, so look for swag items that can be used continuously. Think durable, lasting items that can be donated or handed down later so they stay in use (and out of landfills) for years to come.
  • Made From Recycled Materials: Keep the cycle moving by picking items made from recycled materials. Plastic and aluminum products might be your first thought, but paper products and even textiles can be sourced from recycled plastic.
  • Uses Sustainably Sourced Components: For items that can’t be reliably made from recycled materials, look for options with components that are sustainably sourced, like locally sourced cotton or ethically harvested bamboo.
  • Recyclable: Let’s face it, some products are designed to be discarded. Prioritize products that can be tossed into the recycling bin instead of the scrap bin.
  • Replaces Single-Use Items: Foodware and drinkware like reusable water bottles, multi-use straws, and coffee making systems can help people keep single-use plastic out of the environment.
  • Certified: To make sure you don’t fall victim to greenwashing, look for certifications and trusted partnerships that help you pass that confidence on to your market. FSC certification, 1% For The Planet, Rainforest Alliance, and Fairtrade are some of the more common ones you can check for.

Sustainable Apparel

Not all t-shirts are created equal — some are made from organic cotton, others from sustainably sourced fibers, and others from recycled materials. If you’re looking for eco-friendly swag people can wear to show off your company logo, consider these custom articles.

Hanes EcoSmart® T-Shirt


This cotton/poly blend t-shirt is available in a ton of colors, is ready for any custom design, and uses sustainably sourced, American-grown cotton. And with a small percentage of the polyester being made of recycled plastic bottles, this Hanes t-shirt is a more environmentally friendly alternative to the usual print-to-order product.

Jerzees Nublend Pullover Hoodie


Made from sustainably sourced cotton grown in the US, this 49% cotton, 51% polyester pullover is perfect for anyone looking for eco-friendly promotional items. Just take your pick of over three dozen colors for your custom Jerzees sweatshirt so you can complement your company logo.

Nike Snapback Mesh Trucker Cap


Everybody needs a reliable pair of sweats — and Gildan sweatpants are as reliable as they get. So soft that recipients will never want to change back into their “going out in public” clothes, these sweatpants are made from air jet yarn and 50% fairly grown American cotton. They’re the perfect apparel option for promoting your brand for years to come.

Sustainable Drinkware

In theory, reusable custom drinkware is sustainable by design because it reduces the need for single-use plastic (i.e., bottled water). Unfortunately, not all reusable drinkware is manufactured in environmentally friendly ways.

These sustainable swag ideas abide by eco-conscious material sourcing, making them great options for displaying your company logo everywhere, from the office to the gym to the trail.

CamelBak Eddy+ 25oz Bottle Tritan™ Renew


CamelBak water bottles are renowned for their eco-conscious construction, ergonomic design, and quality — making them the perfect representation of green-friendly brands. This bottle is made in part from waste plastic, is BPA-free, and features a nifty spill-proof bite valve.

Stanley Quencher H2.O FlowState™ Tumbler 40 oz


If you want a sustainable promotional product that’ll really stand out, go with a custom Stanley tumbler. This trendy tumbler offers a massive 40-ounce capacity, convenient sipping straw, and cup holder-friendly profile — and is made from recycled stainless steel. With your company logo on the front, it’ll make an impression lasting for years to come.

Easton Glass cup with FSC Bamboo lid 12oz


For a more outside-the-box sustainable swag idea, consider this glass cup. Its double-wall design keeps coffee hot for much longer than standard mugs. It also comes with a customizable lid made from FSC-certified bamboo to display your custom logo.

Reusable Stainless Steel Straw Set With Brush


Help keep single-use drinkware out of landfills by giving out these reusable stainless steel straws. Complete with a customizable carrying case, these straws can be taken to restaurants to replace disposable straws, kept at the office for convenient sipping, or left in a backpack or purse for when they’re needed.

Sustainable Bags

Want to offer multiple eco-friendly swag options? A sustainable bag is easy to transport to tradeshows, universally useful, and can even be used to carry other custom swag options of your choosing.

Nike Brasilia Large Duffel


For a premium sustainable swag bag, Nike bags are the perfect choice. Made with 100% recycled polyester and boasting a robust capacity and Nike’s signature design, this customizable duffel combines utility, style, and eco-friendly construction.

Liberty Duffel Bag


Looking for a more budget-friendly custom bag? This duffel offers a large capacity and plenty of space for your custom graphic. Available in 10 colors and made from 50% recycled material, the Liberty is as effective for transporting personal items to the gym as it is for promoting your brand.

Cotopaxi Batac Backpack


If you want a truly unique sustainable swag idea, it doesn’t get more unique than one-of-a-kind. While no two custom Cotopaxi bags are the same, you can rest assured that these lightweight bags with individualized color combinations are made from 100% repurposed materials.

Barton Recycled Sling Backpack


Backpacks make for ideal swag options because they display your company logo wherever their wearers go — and this model has the bonus of eco-friendly construction. Made from recycled 600d polyester, the Barton is a compact bag that offers big-time publicity for your custom design.

Sustainable Office Supplies

What’s great about sustainable office supplies is that they’re always in high demand. By replacing the usual pens and paper with more environmentally friendly options, you gain more opportunities to promote your brand while ensuring these essential items are doing less harm to the planet.

5.5" x 8.5" FSC Mix Stone Bound JournalBook Set


While a digital notebook might have less environmental impact than a physical one, there’s still plenty of use for physical journals — and some are more sustainable than others. Through its partnership with 1% For The Planet, one percent of sales of products like this journal are donated to environmental nonprofits.

8.5" x 11" Remark FSC Mix 1-subject Notebook


With FSC certification, you can have confidence that this notebook includes paper that’s been ethically sourced. Plus, a portion of proceeds from its sales goes to environmentally-minded nonprofits, making it an eco-friendly swag option for displaying your custom logo.

Bamboo Nash Ballpoint Pen


Bamboo is an incredibly sustainable alternative material, making this bamboo ballpoint a much more environmentally friendly swag option than the usual giveaway pen. Plus, its distinctive design even makes it a great way to draw eyes to your company logo.

5" x 7" FSC Recycled Notebook and Pen Set


Whenever possible, it’s always best to pick products made from recycled materials. This notebook fits the bill, combining an FSC® recycled hardcover with recycled paper and an included pen, making it one of the most eco-conscious journal sets out there.

Why Choose Sustainable Promotional Products?

If you’re looking for swag ideas, even if your market isn’t particularly sensitive to green initiatives, it’s still worthwhile to prioritize options with minimal impact on the environment. On one hand, picking eco-friendly swag is an easy way to reduce the negative impacts of manufacturing. 

On the other hand, it helps position your brand as environmentally conscious, making it more appealing to potential customers who seek out ethically minded companies. It also gives you the opportunity to pursue environmentally conscious messaging that showcases specific green initiatives.

No matter which custom promotional products you choose, remember: what’s good for the planet is also usually what’s good for business. 

Bryce Emley

About the Author

Based in New Mexico, Bryce Emley is a seasoned content writer and expert in the realms of custom apparel and eCommerce. Holding an MFA in Creative Writing, he seamlessly blends his passions, specializing in insightful content that bridges the gap between innovative apparel solutions and digital commerce trends. Beyond his professional pursuits, Bryce is an avid creator, channeling his creativity into poetry, screenplays, and creative nonfiction. In his leisure time, he has a penchant for collecting unique, vintage anime t-shirts, showcasing his love for both rare finds and the artistry of apparel design.