Our Frog Friendly campaign used sustainable promotional products including an organic cotton t-shirt, post-consumer recycled paper and a corn cellulose pen.
24 January 2024

Top Ten Sustainable Promotional Products Edmonton

Looking for sustainable options for your next promotion, event or corporate gift? Here are our top 10 choices for our planet in 2023. Our ratings are based on freight distance, materials, packaging, life cycle, and whether the product meets the supplier's claims.

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Made from the repurposed centers of vintage vinyl records, coasters feature custom-printed record labels with your full-colour artwork. Labels are laminated to protect from moisture and are great for hot or cold drinks. 1-Sided Record Label Coasters feature your full-colour custom artwork on one side and an authentic vintage record label on the second side - ask us about packaging options to create sets! No two coasters are alike; every unique coaster features a different vintage record label!

Point Deductions- Source material (vinyl) and limited recyclability at end of life.

#10 Upcycled Vinyl Record Coasters - 4.5 out of 5 Trees

Promotional coasters made from upcycled vinyl records.

After its life on the side of a museum, the banners are placed on pallets and shipped. Sewing production begins upcycling the banners. The banners are cut into smaller pieces, cleaned, and then sewn with other quality materials, creating and supporting green jobs. 

This manufacturer also upcycles banners, bike tire tubes, and scuba gear into a full range of useful items.

Point Deductions- Source material (vinyl) and limited recyclability at the end of life.

#9 Upcycled Advertising Banner Bags - 4.5 out of 5 Trees

Bag made from an upcycled advertising banner

Stone Paper is an alternative to pulp. It is made using 80-85% recycled calcium carbonate and manufactured without cutting trees or using water, harmful acids, dyes, or bleaches required to whiten and treat pulp-based paper. The process uses 85% less energy than paper from trees, resulting in a 67% smaller front-end carbon footprint.

Point Deductions: The other 15% of the "paper" content is plastic. It must be recycled through the type 2 plastics channel.

#8 Stone Paper Journals - 4.5 out of 5 Trees

Promotional journals made from stone paper.

Wheat straw utensils are a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional single-use plastic utensils. They are made from the leftover stalks of wheat plants after the grain has been harvested, which would otherwise be discarded. Wheat straw utensils are biodegradable, compostable, and microwave-safe. They come in different forms, such as forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks. Wheat straw utensils are an excellent choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact and minimize waste. They are perfect for outdoor events, picnics, camping, and everyday use. 

Point deductions- Most of the product is made in China, so freight emissions can be significant.

#7 Wheat Straw Utensils - 4.5 out of 5 trees

Utensils made from the leftover stalks of wheat.

Hemp is a versatile and strong natural fibre used to make various products, including bags and paper. Hemp is a sustainable and renewable resource that is grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides. Hemp bags and paper are biodegradable and compostable, so they won't contribute to landfills or pollution.

Point Deductions- production is primarily in Asia leading, so freight emissions can be significant.

#6 Bags & Paper Made From Hemp - 4.5 out of 5 trees

A bag made from sustainable hemp fibre.

Refresh Glass partners with local restaurants to collect their empty bottles, diverting them from the waste stream. The bottles are cleaned and sorted by colour. The labels are removed, and the rims are melted using custom tooling. The glasses are stress-relieved in an oven, custom engraved, rewashed, and polished. They are made in the US.

Point Deductions- Minimum point deductions due to product weight and freight emissions.

#5 Repurposed Wine Bottle Glasses - 4.7 out of 5 trees

Wine bottles repurposed as wine glasses.

What an ideal custom-printed option. It begins with rescuing 'bad" milk, extracting casein protein from the bacteria, isolating proteins, and evaporating them into fibres spun into yarn. The next step is your T-shirt.

Point Deductions- Minimum point deductions due to product freight emissions.

#4 T-shirts Made from Milk - 4.8 out of 5 trees

A t-shirt that is made from yarn from spoiled milk.

Seeded paper products are made from recycled paper that is embedded with seeds. These products include note cards, bookmarks, and invitations, among others. Once used, the seeded paper can be planted in soil, and with proper care, the seeds will grow into plants, such as herbs, wildflowers, or vegetables. Seeded paper products are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional paper products, as they reduce waste and promote sustainability. 

Point Deductions- Minimal point deductions due to product freight emissions.

#3 Seeded Paper Products - 4.9 out of 5 trees

A greeting card made from plantable seeded paper.

Give the gift of trees. This is the ultimate environmentally friendly promotional product. The physical trees are planted in Northern Saskatchewan.

A unique link is sent for each bundle of trees you purchase. You can then send one or more links to each person on your list. The recipient can then follow the link and use their unique code to dedicate their gift, with a message, in the GreenShows™ virtual forest. This is the second most sustainable promotional product Edmonton has to offer.

#2 Trees for Leads- 5 out of 5 trees

You can't find much more of a sustainable promotional product Edmonton has to offer than planting trees

The Future of Promotions is Regenerative Marketing


Sustainability was so yesterday! What we need to focus on now is regenerative marketing. That is the idea of going beyond just reducing harm or maintaining the status quo but actively working to restore and regenerate the natural and social systems damaged by human activity. Regenerative marketing emphasizes the importance of creating products and services that minimize their negative impact on the environment and society and contribute to the regeneration of those systems. This can involve using sustainable materials, designing products for disassembly and reuse, and actively investing in biodiversity and community development.

Regenerative marketing also recognizes that consumer behaviour is critical in driving change and seeks to empower consumers to make informed choices that support regenerative practices. This can involve initiatives like transparency and education campaigns or incentivizing behaviours that align with regenerative values.

Ultimately, regenerative marketing represents a shift towards a more holistic and proactive approach to sustainability. It recognizes the interconnectedness of all systems and seeks to contribute positively to their regeneration. 

Now for the most sustainable promotional product Edmonton has to offer:

So you need a plan. By the way, slapping your logo on it and giving it away in hopes of "getting your name out there" is not a plan.

Ensure you know exactly who your audience is and what you want them to do in order to receive the product or after they have received it. Measure how many people take that action and segment recipients for future follow-up.

Suppliers, if you have a greener promotional product or solution, please submit them for review.

The majority of waste generated by swag results from its improper use.

The number one eco-friendly promotional product is not a product at all; it is a plan for how sales and marketing will use promotional products.

No matter how green the products you choose, if they don't work, they are just creating waste for your budget and our planet.

#1 Most Sustainable Promotional Product is a Solid Plan - 5 out of 5 trees

Text reading " a goal without a plan is just a wish". A plan is the most sustainable promotional product Edmonton has to offer.

The 7 R's of Sustainable Promotional Products Edmonton - Ranked From Ok to Best

Reusable promotional items are made from materials that can be used repeatedly, which reduces the amount of waste generated. However, Many products are also made from unsustainable resources, such as plastic or non-renewable materials. It's also worth noting that many reusable promotional items are manufactured overseas, which can lead to increased transportation emissions and a higher carbon footprint. While reusable promotional items can be an excellent option for companies looking to reduce waste and promote sustainability, it's essential to carefully consider their environmental impact and sourcing to ensure they align with your company's values.

Reusable Promotional Items

Branded reusable water bottles

Products made from recycled materials are available in a wide range of products, including corporate apparel, branded beverageware, and office products, meaning there is something for everyone. Choosing products made from recycled, renewable resources is an ok choice, as it reduces the amount of waste in landfills and minimizes the need for virgin materials. However, it is essential to note that not all recycled material is created equal. Products from recycled plastic may not be as environmentally friendly, as plastic never decomposes and can release harmful toxins.

Functional Promotional Products Made From Recycled Materials

A shopping tote made from recycled materials

Repurposing is diverting resources from waste streams and turning them into functional products. Repurposed products are often eco-friendly and offer an affordable and sustainable alternative to conventional products. The idea behind repurposing is to reduce the amount of waste in landfills and provide a second life to materials that would otherwise be discarded. However, repurposed products are sometimes made from non-recyclable materials, which means they may not be fully sustainable in the long term. Despite this, repurposing is still a valuable practice for extending the life cycle of materials that would otherwise go to waste. By creating functional products from waste materials, we can reduce our environmental impact and create a more sustainable future.

Upcycled & Repurposed Branded Merch

An upcycled beverage koozie

Renewable and biodegradable materials are derived from natural sources that are replenished over time, making them a sustainable alternative to traditional non-renewable materials. Many renewable and biodegradable materials are also organic, meaning that they are free of harmful chemicals and pesticides. Renewable and biodegradable materials include wheat straw 'plastic' substitutes, corn cellulose 'plastics,' pineapple leather, milk fibre yarn, bamboo, hemp, jute and organic cotton. These materials can be used in various products, from clothing to packaging to furniture, and offer a potential solution to the growing problem of plastic waste. By using renewable and biodegradable materials, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and decrease the amount of waste in landfills and oceans. 

Promotional Items Made From Sustainably Sourced Renewable & Biodegradable Materials

Bamboo cutting board

Reduce Consumption With Better Planning


The promotional product with the most sustainable impact is not wasted on a giveaway but reserved only for those who earn it.

This could be through acknowledging positive actions (employee recognition or customer thank-you gifts) or incentivizing individuals to take action (such as joining a list, exhibiting safety consciousness, or social action).

By focusing on precise targeting and comprehensive metrics, identifying unnecessary waste becomes easier, allowing you to take effective measures to reduce waste. A well-planned strategy can minimize physical and budget waste, increasing profitability.

Additionally, the transportation and disposal of paper catalogues contribute to carbon emissions, exacerbating the effects of climate change. Similarly, single-use plastic swag and cheap giveaways can harm our ecosystems and wildlife, as they often end up in landfills or as litter in our oceans. By associating your brand with these harmful materials, you risk damaging your reputation and alienating environmentally-conscious consumers. Therefore, it is important to consider alternative marketing strategies prioritizing sustainability and environmental responsibility. Some ideas include digital catalogues, reusable and eco-friendly merchandise, or planting trees that can be dedicated virtually instead of plastic swag.

It is essential to refuse promo catalogues and single-use plastic swag to reduce their negative impact on our environment. Paper catalogues require significant resources and energy, often contributing to deforestation and pollution.

Refuse Promo Catalogues and Single-Use Plastic Swag

Refuse printing catalogues and use our simple leads paperless trade show app

Bonus: Search for Green Promotional Products Using Ecosia


When searching for that perfect sustainable promotional product, use the search engine that plants trees.

Ecosia is a search engine that uses its profits to plant trees worldwide. By switching your search engine to Ecosia, you can help fight climate change and support reforestation efforts while still obtaining the information you need for your business. Ecosia even provides a certification program for companies that want to promote their commitment to sustainability and environmental protection.

Regenerative marketing is the ultimate in green marketing, going beyond just sustainability and conservation efforts. It aims to restore, renew and revitalize our environment and society while creating value for businesses and their stakeholders. It includes various practices that promote regeneration, such as planting trees, using renewable resources and reducing waste. For instance, sustainable event apps replacing printed materials can help decrease waste and carbon emissions while providing exhibitors with better leads. Similarly, virtual events that offset and plant trees can help to reduce carbon footprints and promote the restoration of degraded lands. Regenerative marketing makes the business case for sustainability.

Regenerative Marketing

A t-shirt that reads, "tap my sleeve and plant a tree"
Sustainable promotional products edmonton including organic, compostable, and renewable materials.

Sustainable Marketing Begins With Better Marketing

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