Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Branded corporate gifts that help reduce waste


 Catching up with The Green Desk's Yasmin Halai-Carter at 
UKAware 2011
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.


If you're giving away reusable bags at your conference or exhibition stand, that's a great thing to do right?  Well, yes, it's a step in the right direction towards waste-busting giving, but wouldn't it be better if that bag was made from recycled materials in the first place!

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


It may be my inner geek shouting here, but I just LOVE these USB batteries that I discovered in my goody bag.  With a house full of remote controls, handheld game consoles, cameras and other gadgets, these energy-packed miracle workers are just the thing!  Again, I'm a long term fan and have even been known to add some to my kids' Christmas stockings and they love them too, as you just bung them into your USB slot to recharge, saving a fortune in batteries in the process.  As well as selling 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


And here's another personal favourite, the staple-less stapler, helping to reduce the office worker's dependency on steel.  This one is branded with the 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

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  And if you've ever wondered where the organisation sources its promotional T-shirts, just check out ethical clothing company Pier32.


Unknown said...

Oh heavend I go almost dippy with my husband and all teh useless crap they do for brand awareness even if it is gree! Some of it is made in china why? Why do it? It seems such an oxymornon to have a "green" freebie made in china...however if these things are made of recycled products and made in teh UK then I might not get quite so hot under the collar! Love the stapless stapler....

Tracey Smith said...

Hi there lovely lady - I hope you don't mind, but I really enjoyed your piece and have reproduced the first bit on my site, linking straight back to you of course to read the rest of the piece.

Great work!

Kind regards,
Smithy xxx

Tracey Smith
Author/Broadcaster Sustainable Living & Founder of InterNational Downshifting Week

Rev. Peter Doodes said...

Thanks to the esteemed company I was, with I also received a UK Aware Press Pack. Like you I was amazed that all that was within (with the exception of one item from the Population Matters) was very useful indeed.

Great event, wonderful people, superb company... Roll on UK Aware 2012!!

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Tattie Weasle, I know what you mean. I just think we're in an environment that's still learning. As the UK steps up its investment in recycling technologies and the development of recycled materials it would be great to see production come back to our economy. I think we've still got a long way to go though, but hopefully not too long. ;0)

Hi Tracey,and thanks chick - you're most welcome and I'm glad to have the chance to contribute. ;0)

Hi Peter - thank you. And as for that blimmin' free condom. Yes, I agree. I really could have done without that, especially as my 6 year old pulled it out of the bag on during our train journey home. Not quite the discussion I was hoping for on a very packed train ;0)

Rev. Peter Doodes said...

Oh to have been a fly on the wall at that event!

Jo Beaufoix said...

What a fab day lovely, and those USB batteries look fab. I love all the ideas that keep on coming. x

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hee hee Peter, indeed ;0)

Thanks Jo...and yes I can vouch for those batteries. We've got quite a few of them now in the various gizmos at home ;0) xxx

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin