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A Guide to the Most Eco-friendly Materials

Sustainability is taking the branded merchandise industry by storm. As public opinion shifts dramatically towards a more sustainable version of consumerism, branded merchandise is following suit.


Businesses no longer look to save a quick buck on their promotional merchandise and are instead looking for high quality, sustainable swag. At JNI, we have spent time locating the most eco-friendly suppliers and personalising some of the most creative, sustainable merchandise around.


Gone are the days where plastic was the dominant manufacturing material. Suppliers nowadays are discovering genius ways of using new materials to do all the things plastic used to do.


In this article, we discuss some of the best eco-friendly materials and the products they are used for.


Bamboo


Bamboo is a renewable resource because of its extraordinary ability to rapidly grow in a multitude of climates. Furthermore, bamboo has natural antibacterial properties which means it does not require added chemicals.


Bamboo can be made into a soft, linen-like textile. This is done by combing and spinning the pulp of bamboo grass and creating a yarn. The bamboo fabric is used to make anything from blankets to scarves.


Additionally, the wood from the bamboo tree is strong and light and can be used for various exciting products. At JNI, we are particularly excited about the Bamboo Desk Tidy. It comes with ample room for keys, coins, USB sticks and whatever else you may find cluttering your desk.


The best part about the Bamboo Desk Tidy is it’s wireless charging capabilities. With built-in charging, you can completely clear your desk of any unwanted cables.


Cork

When harvesting cork, only the bark of the cork tree is removed which means the cork tree goes on living and can continue to act as an oxygenating force in the environment. Furthermore, a cork tree that is harvested removes up to 5 times more CO2 from the environment than an unharvested cork tree.


Clearly, there are huge benefits to buying products made from cork. In addition to removing CO2 from the atmosphere, cork is highly biodegradable and waste from cork production can always be used to make other cork products.


Importantly, cork isn’t only used to make the tops of wine bottles! At JNI, for example, we provide clients with a notebook featuring a cork cover and recycled craft paper. It looks amazing and is extremely durable too.


Bio-Plastic


Bio-plastics are becoming an increasingly viable alternative to plastic, but how does it differ? Traditional plastic is made from petroleum-based raw materials which are not sustainable. Bio-plastics are made from renewable materials such as corn starch, cassava or sugarcane.


Through a complicated chemical process, the materials are converted into a long-chain polymer that closely resembles plastic. The product looks and behaves just like plastic and can be used to make all sorts of items.


Bio-plastic pens, for example, are made from sugarcane derived bioplastic. They are biodegradable, smooth to the touch and can be branded just as easily as any plastic pen.


Organic Cotton


Cotton is a manufacturing classic. We hold it, wear it and sleep on it every single day. However, conventionally grown cotton has a huge impact on our environment. The use of toxic pesticides and fertilisers, as well as huge volumes of water, means that conventional cotton is damaging to the environment.


Organic cotton uses no toxic chemicals, less water, and less energy. Unfortunately, only 1% of cotton produced in the world is made organically. When you opt for organic cotton, you contribute to the change in attitudes and encourage more farmers to go organic.


At JNI, we love working with Stanley & Stella who create exquisite organic cotton T-shirts. T-shirts will always be a merchandising classic and when your brand goes sustainable, the message really resonates.



Recycled Leather


The leather manufacturing industry is extremely wasteful. It is estimated that around 50% of the initial raw material ends up as waste. Using recycled leather is good for two reasons. Firstly, by using offcuts and scrap strips of leather, the total waste is reduced. Secondly, recycled leather can help to reduce the demand for virgin leather.


Recycled leather is incredibly versatile. Scrap leather is gathered and mixed together with a binding agent. The product is a sheet of recycled leather that can be used to make anything from bags to notebooks.


Recycled leather provides all the benefits of leather, the feel, the look, and the durability whilst also promoting a positive environmental impact.


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