Picture this: You just arrived at your first conference of the season. Before the keynote starts, you make your way to the exhibit hall, where you are bombarded with pens, stress balls, and coffee mugs from exhibitors. What do you do with all of those giveaways? Chances are, you have a few sitting at your desk, but the rest were thrown away before you even left the conference.

Believe it or not, promotional items are still a great marketing tool. In 2013 alone, the U.S. promotional products industry brought in over $19 billion in revenue. Giveaways are valuable because they provide you premium face time with your target audience and are often more budget-friendly than traditional marketing tactics. A great promotional item aligns with your budget and brand, and is memorable or useful for the audience you're serving.

So, how can you provide your attendees with something they will remember while also reducing the amount of build-up of useless giveaways in landfills?

Whether you're looking for something practical or a bit more adventurous for your next event, we rounded up a list of our favorite green giveaways right now (including a couple of our own). Each of the items are reusable or biodegradable, and all are made in the USA.


1. Grow-Your-Own Wheatgrass

Indoor plants are full of benefits: They improve air quality, reduce stress, and increase happiness. Studies have also shown that they increase productivity (read more here). Not only are they beneficial, but these wheatgrass gifts are a breakaway from your standard giveaway.

Wheatgrass promotional gift

Source: 4imprint

2. Reusable tote bags

These tote bags are durable and reusable, and can be customized using your old marketing materials, like banners and billboards. Tote bags are a staple at conferences and events to store all of the giveaways you'll pick up along the way, and your attendees will remember your brand every time they use the bag.

Tote bags made from repurposed Portland Timbers banners

Source: Relan

3. Eco-friendly golf tees

Golf giveaways are always a good bet, especially with these eco-friendly, customizable golf tees. At 20 cents or less, these giveaways are also a great option if you are operating on a tight budget.

Eco-friendly golf tees

Source: Ethix Merch

4. Mini plant favors

Like the wheatgrass, these mini plants are a unique and beneficial giveaway. Some vendors even allow for you to choose the type of plant to give away. For attendees with families, these are also a great gift to take home for their kids. At under $2 a piece, they are a great option if you don't have a lot to spend.

Mini plant conference and promotional gift

Source: Eco Promotional Products

5. Luggage tags

Many conference attendees travel to get there, making these luggage tags both relevant and useful. Each tag is unique, just like your attendees, and their durability means your attendees can carry your logo with them for many trips to come. Since they are made from banners and billboards, they reduce the amount of waste to landfills and make a great giveaway.

Lexus luggage tags made from recycled banners

Source: Relan

6. Digital downloads

In true green fashion, offering attendees a free digital download, such as a white paper or e-book, is a great way to save money and materials. It is also a great way for you to gather contacts. Just make sure that what you're offering is useful and relevant to your attendees.

Tell us: What items have worked well for your company?

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