This weekend saw me scoot down to London again to visit UKAware, the UK's largest and longest running contemporary sustainable lifestyle exhibition
This was my third annual visit and I have to admit, it was a great excuse to catch up with some of my old friends and have a good mooch around to see what's new. As ever, I came away buzzing with excitement over the amazing projects I saw, but having had a press pack for the first time ever - and having been accompanied by my six year old, who is a magnet for freebies - I also noticed I was laden down with stuff!
And it really got me thinking about all the conferences and corporate events out there, where freebies are giving out willy-nilly, to get brands right under the noses of the people with the purse-strings. Yes, I've been used to a career packed with squashy balls, mouse mats, and laptop bags, not to mention the ubiquitous and equally useless gym-kit style bags to fetch them home in, with carrying strings that bury deep into your hands, but in recent years I've trained myself well to refuse most branded clutter. You know...applying that age-old mantra of REDUCE!
However, at UKAware I was intrigued by the alternative options that are now available for the more eco-conscious corporate merchandiser and naturally my antennae turned towards the cool stuff that actually helps people reduce waste. I thought I'd include some of my findings here.
That's where Onya comes in, with its range of branded bags that are made from recycled PET bottles. I've been a fan of Onya bags ever since I saw them during my first visit to UKAware and I don't think you could get a bag that is more lightweight or which is so easy at being packed up. It even comes with its own pouch and clip to make it easier to carry around. For more details visit www.onyabags.co.uk.
branded batteries, I've noticed there's also a commemorative pack for the Royal Wedding. More info about these funky little batteries can be found at www.usbcell.com.
Green Desk's web address, which also happens to be the company that sells them. It comes with a great quote that reads "If every office worker in the UK used 1 less staple a day we would save 120 tonnes of steel a year". Wowzer! For more branded products like this, as well as everyday sustainable office items can be found at www.greendesk.org.uk.
So, I'm pretty happy with the freebies that I picked up at UKAware this year. It just goes to show that businesses don't need to give their customers ready-made landfill as part of their marketing strategy and can instead offer items that can actually save them money and help reduce their waste in the first place. You just need to find the right places to look and UKAware is just one of those places that is well worth watching for solutions that match your brand's ethics.
UKAware is now selling exhibition stands for its Bristol event, which takes place on 18th-19th June 2011. For further details, please visit www.ukaware.com. And if you've ever wondered where the organisation sources its promotional T-shirts, just check out ethical clothing company Pier32.