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Boost Brand Awareness with Eco-Friendly Trade Show Giveaways

March 11, 2014 11:44 by Bran

If you've ever been to a trade show or expo, you know that promotional giveaways can help drive traffic to your booth. But have you considered the benefits of employing eco-friendly tactics?

Choosing eco-friendly promotional products will have a positive influence on Earth, your brand image and your recipients.

In a recent blog post, Motivators' sales supervisor, Ozzie, discussed the benefits of going green with promotional products: "...[Using] eco-friendly promotional products will not just promote your business, but it will also enhance your company’s image. Giving your customers a green product tells them that you’re environmentally-aware and conscious of your actions today, which will affect the world tomorrow," she wrote.

A promotional product that can be used more than once offers a better return on investment (ROI). "A reusable product is a great way to promote your brand because the durability of the item will allow your customers to use the product again and again," the Trade Show News Network (TSNN) reports.

You can take that one step further by selecting an item that's eco-friendly. Which products are categorized as "green?" Ozzie explains: "In general, eco-friendly products are made from biodegradable, recycled, and/or organic material. Anything that can be reused or recycled, or is made from recycled or biodegradable material, is considered eco-friendly."

You might be surprised by how many different types of environmentally-friendly trade show giveaways are available. Motivators offers everything from apparel and bags to mugs and personal accessories. Browse our eco-friendly trade show giveaways to get started on your order!

[LOOK] Giant, Head-Shaped Planters Promote Going Green

August 6, 2013 13:47 by Bran

If they were going for shock value, then they certainly pulled it off!

Sustainability organization Plant Green Ideas installed 14 larger-than-life, head-shaped planters in Chicago to help promote a greener lifestyle. Each piece measures more than six feet in height and is made from recycled concrete. Check 'em out: 


According to the CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER, the statues offer residents "eco-friendly lifestyle tips such as 'limit showers to six minutes,' 'ride a bike,' and 'give your kids soybean crayons' with tattoo like missives printed on the back of the neck." Look below: 

The art will be on display through August 31. Do you think the installments will inspire Chicagoans to go green?

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3 Tips for a Greener Bathroom

March 19, 2013 16:36 by Bran

Did you know there are ways to be a bit more eco-friendly in the restroom? Browse the tips below and try to incorporate as many as possible into your own life!

1. Fight mold before it grows

Showers and bathtubs are like breeding grounds for mold. And unfortunately sometimes it can get so bad that only strong chemicals can remove it. But one way to fight mold before it grows is to spray down your shower or tub with white vinegar after each use, reports Tiny Choices. This way, you avoid using toxic chemicals all together!

2. Let air circulate

To prevent mold from growing in other areas of your bathroom, make sure it's properly ventilated. This includes doing something as simple as opening a window to installing exhaust fans. "By moving air out of the bathroom, you'll remove the moisture that mold needs to grow," advises the Huffington Post.

3. Replace your light bulbs

According to HGTV, "Compact fluorescent bulbs use less energy than incandescent bulbs and last much longer." So why not switch out your old bulbs?

Other small changes that can make a difference include using less water (like when you're brushing your teeth), choosing recycled products (toilet paper, tissues) and adding plants to your bathroom.

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Does SimCity Promote Going Green?

March 12, 2013 16:14 by Bran

I'm not big into gaming (though I'm basically a pro at Mario Kart), but I recently stumbled upon an article about SimCity that piqued my interest.

The PopSci piece looks at SimCity's eco-friendly ideas, noting that the creators' environmental leanings could be sensed from "a mile away." Here are the bases for PopSci's argument:

1. While SimCity certainly shows off the positives of coal power (it's both cheap and effective), it also "ensured that towns with coal power are realistically shrouded in pollution and disease." After all, there's no such thing as "clean coal."

2. Food factories in SimCity are pre-named with names that are actually jokes about how detrimental food production can be to the environment. Names include everything from "Edible Chemical" to "Baby Formula and Lead Paint." Yikes!

3. When it comes to treating human waste in SimCity, you're given two options: "the chance to purchase an expensive waste treatment plant" and a "cheap sewage spewer which literally just pumps it into a local forest." Human beings generate an astounding amount of waste every day, and SimCity reminds us that it's all got to go somewhere.

Do you think SimCity's creators included these details on purpose? Are they trying to convey a go green message?

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The Top 3 Go Green Tumblrs

February 26, 2013 13:07 by Bran

Always on the lookout for what's next in the world of environmentalism? If so, you'll want to check out Tumblr for some of the most up-to-date eco-friendly news sources.

Let's take a look at some of the top go green Tumblrs, according to Mashable:

1. The Tumblr account for Tree Hugger not only features content from its website, but also includes articles and information collected on the web.

2. Greenpeace's Tumblr has a Pinterest-like format, and often displays shocking images that grab the reader's attention.

3. Check out the World Wildlife Fund's Tumblr page for information on how to help preserve some of the world's most amazing animals.

What other Tumblrs do you turn to for environmental news?


5 Tips for a Greener Office by Earth Day

April 17, 2012 16:06 by Bran

Asking your employees to help 'green' the office may not go over to well at first.  Let's face it:  Some people just don't want to put in the time and effort.  You can pull out all the stats and figures surrounding the negative impact of pollution and waste, but it's still hard to get people to change.

But even small steps make a difference.  Let's take a look at some easy ways to make your office green by Earth Day, courtesy of

  1. Add a few plants

    Real plants (not the waxy plastic ones) make the workplace more attractive and also help absorb indoor air pollution.  The cleaner office air is, the healthier your employees will be.

  2. Consider the environment before printing

    One organization, the Sierra Club, asserts that just one office employee uses 10,000 pieces of copy paper every year.  If you don't have to print something, don't!

  3. Let your computer sleep

    Most people have a screen saver set up.  But did you know that a screen saver uses extra energy when you step away from your desk?  You can fix this by changing your settings; choose to let your computer 'hibernate' or 'sleep' when you've walked away for 10 or more minutes.

  4. Turn off the lights

    Of course it's not healthy to be working in the dark, but if you've got a meeting or are leaving for your lunch break, dim the lights before you leave.  Conserving when possible is very important.

  5. Use an electronic to-do list

    I'm definitely someone who loves to write out my tasks on paper and cross each out as I accomplish it.  However, there are plenty of ways to electronically achieve the same thing so that no paper is wasted.  Smartphones and computers can be set up with digitized to-do lists.  If that's not an option for you, consider investing in a dry-erase board!

Tiny changes in behavior can add up to one big, green office.  Hopefully your employees' behavioral changes will translate into new, greener habits.  To read all of LiveScience's tips, click here.

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California Did it -- Why Can't the Rest of us Go Green?

March 20, 2012 15:46 by Bran

California's always been at the forefront of the eco-friendly movement.  And as the state continues to take climate change threats very seriously, it begs the question:  Could an America that followed suit become a leading nation in the fight against global warming?

From San Francisco's ban on plastic bags to state-wide advancements in hydrogen fuel, it's obvious that California is concerned about the impact of climate change.  And it's with good reason -- reports that "California will be hit hard by climate change, losing a great deal of its snow pack (a vital source of freshwater), and experiencing at least one meter of sea level rise by 2100." Those estimates do not apply nationwide, which is probably why the rest of America isn't as concerned.

But if we all made the same lifestyle changes that Californians are making, the U.S. could have a huge impact on slowing the rate of global warming. One author, Mark Hertsgaard, recently told Yale Environment 360 that

...if the rest of the United States had done what California has over the past 40 years, the world might be well on the way to slowing climate change. For in that case, the U.S. today, like California, might be consuming the same amount of energy as it did 40 years ago ... What’s more, the international community might have had a better chance of reaching a deal at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, because the U.S. might have embraced rather than shunned the goal of 80 percent emissions reductions by 2050.

I applaud California's bold efforts, but I remain concerned about the rest of the country.  After all, as puts it, "Even if the state continues on this path, the lack of action elsewhere will continue to make the problem worse. If we want to truly combat the problem, we need to follow California’s lead on a broader scale."

The Hype About Greenwashing

July 24, 2009 11:14 by human
Green news has been inundated of late with warnings to consumers to be aware of greenwashing. While consumers should read labels and be certain the products they buy are truly green, these warnings seem almost frantic in nature.

Greenwashing is when businesses label their products as green or eco-friendly when the products don’t actually meet these standards. It is about people being fooled into buying products that are not really good for them, or for the environment.

Consumers today should be savvy enough to navigate through advertising hype. How many people really think that sugary cereals are nutritious? Yet TV commercials and cereal box labels still want us to believe that sugary frosted cereals are “part of a nutritious breakfast.”

There are of course many more examples of advertising hype as we all well know, so shouldn’t the same hold true for eco-friendly products? After all, today’s consumer is demanding more and more of these products and so of course corporations want to package their goods to meet market demands.

Of course regulations and certification labels are helpful in identifying which products meet our green demands, just as any other product should follow the truth in advertising rules.

Currently the Federal Trade Commission Act requires that all advertising:
•    Be truthful and non-deceptive
•    Must have evidence to back up their claims
•    Cannot be unfair

Businesses can be forced to pay stiff fines and face penalties for not adhering to these guidelines.
Then there are cases where labels are technically truthful about their certification but the product may not actually meet the standards we may personally think they should.

A good example is the organic label. Many foods are labeled as organic but they are only organic in the strictest sense of the word. Many farms follow organic practices with their soil standards and so are able to be USDA certified as organic, yet they really follow factory farm practices in everything but their soil (the Cornucopia Institute is but one organization that follows organic farming claims and has great material about which organic products do not utilize humane farming conditions and are actually large factory farms).

These are cases where a certified label doesn’t really mean as much as we might hope it would.

In addition, greenwashing may not be a completely bad thing, but rather a symptom of the growing demand of consumers for products that are safe for our health and the health of the planet.

Many companies that have heretofore created toxic chemicals and products are now producing and advertising their green products. There are so many “green” products on the shelves of mainstream grocery stores, we don’t have to make that extra trip to the co-op or Whole Foods to buy laundry soap. It should only get better from here!

As with any product, we should be smart and savvy and we should read our labels, and we should also know what the many green advertising terms on labels mean.


To Go Green You Must Find Your Personal Balance

July 20, 2009 12:47 by human

You're not going to upturn your life over night, you need to pick and choose.

Wa$ted! spent some quality time with a fantastic pair of sisters who ran a salon north of New York City, and we came upon the thorny issue of what to do when what you MUST do goes against what you WANT to do, in terms of the environment.

Jackie and Maria run a business, the Selah Salon, so they cannot just stop using certain products or change their ways. Their customers might leave, or they might not be able to achieve the same results. Annabelle and I were challenged to figure out inventive ways to help them lower their carbon footprint.

Luckily, we did, and Jackie and Maria did a great job as a result. With options from oil-spill mats made from human waste-hair to setting them up with a Mindardi Eco-Light system that not only saves them money and energy, but also makes their workspaces significantly better, we managed to lower their footprint while keeping their business model strong.

But there's another issue here, and that is one of balance. As we learned with the salon, you cannot just abandon everything you have been doing and switch to a fully green lifestyle overnight. Along with being expensive, it is impractical.

It is at this point that I would like to admit—a little proudly—that I am the owner of a 1978 Ford Bronco (image above) with engine and chassis upgrades that make it a real brute. Not the greenest car on earth, yes?

I out myself here as a gearhead to show that everyone—even green-lifestyle show hosts—needs to understand and find balance in their lives. And I will use my rip-snorting 351 Midland V8 to help explain.

My grandfather bought the Bronco new in 1978. He got it serviced, or did it himself—I come from good genes—with admirable punctuality for decades. Maintenance and upkeep will make a car a generational purchase, and that's one of the best ways to turn back the carbon-belching momentum of our disposable culture.

My grandfather lives in the mountainous west, where 5-foot snowdrifts on unplowed roads aren't so much a hazard as just a signal that winter's coming.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved that Bronco. I am pretty sure that by the early Eighties I was asking him if I could have it, easily half a decade before I would be legal to drive it.

And one fine day in 2000, he called me and said 'Make an offer.' He didn't just give it away—I come from good genes—but he let me know that he was honoring the promise that he made a hyper ten-year-old to let him have first crack at the Bronco when he himself was done with it.

So we settled on a fair price, and I spent some of my hard-earned money taking a well-cared-for but stock vehicle and making it a powerhouse and a head-turner.

Not sounding too green, are we? Granted. But here's my point: you have to find your balance, and it is personal to everyone.

My grandfather used that one vehicle for 23 years, which is the ultimate form of recycling: don't get rid of it in the first place. No environment-ruining manufacturing and shipping processes were made getting a new car to him every 5 years.

And when he was finally done with it, he didn't junk it or let it rot and rust. He passed it on: recycling within the family, mulching the family tree.

The upgrades I made actually increased the mileage. Yes, I made it rumble and cruise, and the thrust from 70 mph to 100—not that I've ever done that, heh heh heh—is insane. But under normal driving conditions, which is 95% of the time, I've gotten 10% to 15% better mileage out of it.

And I only drive it every once in a while, often when using the kinds of roads or terrain for which is was designed. This is not a commuter car. And when I am not in the Bronco, I am often on my motorcycle, getting around 50-mpg.

So that's one example of my balance. You can have it, too. Consider it a baby step on the road to more sustainable living:

  • If you can't upgrade to lower-flow faucets, buy soap from this guy,, who uses recycled packaging, rides a bike to power his mixers, and has a tiny carbon impact in his manufacturing.
  • If you can't buy a hybrid or heat your house with biodiesel, drive smoothly to lower your fuel usage and turn the thermostat down three degrees in winter—or better yet, get new digital thermostats that let you program more specifically and save energy throughout the season.

Jackie and Maria still bleach hair when they have to. It is, after all, their business. And for balance, they sweep the clippings, send them to an oil spill, and save the sea gulls and otters with recycled hair mats.

Balance. Get on board.

By Holter Graham
New York, NY, USA | Thu Jul 16 12:00:00 EDT 2009


Six indictments against bottled water

July 13, 2009 11:49 by human

For years, advocacy groups have been raising concerns about bottled water: Not only do bottles end up littering the landscape, and not only are those plastic bottles derived from fossil fuels, but they also may leach chemicals into water and the quality of the water is not stringently monitored.

But many Americans have a healthy distrust of advocacy groups. If you're one of them, then consider this. The Government Accountability Office, the well-respected and nonpartisan research organization that serves Congress, has concluded a yearlong investigation, and come up with basically the same conclusions.

Here's a summary:

Water quality

Surveys have shown that perceived health benefits are behind the staggering increase in the consumption of bottled water -- from 13.4 gallons per person in 1997 to 29.3 gallons per person in 2007.

While on paper, the Food and Drug Administration limits on contaminants in bottled water mirror the Environmental Protection Agency's strict limits on contaminants in tap water supplied by community water systems, that doesn't mean bottled water is as closely watched or as safe as tap water. Here's why:

  • Phthalates
    Unlike the EPA, which has set limits on phthalates in water, the FDA has stalled for more than 15 years in publishing a limit on the phthalate DEHP in bottled water. DEHP is an ingredient in plastic, and (the GAO report does not detail the chemical's potential health effects as we do here) laboratory studies have linked some phthalates to problems with male fertility -- including decreased sperm counts and penis and testes sizes -- with obesity, and with other health problems related to hormonal imbalances. Several phthalates have been banned in children's products for this same reason: They inhibit the normal function of testosterone, the male hormone.

  • Testing
    While the EPA requires drinking water suppliers to use certified labs to test their water, the FDA does not have this authority. Further, test results don't have to be reported to the FDA -- even if the test results show violations of drinking water quality standards. Even those states that have rules that exceed FDA requirements typically don't match EPA requirements.

  • Labeling
    While the EPA requires public drinking water systems to annually publish the results of water quality testing, along with information about the drinking water source and known threats, the FDA does not require this of bottled water companies. The GAO reports: "In 2000, the FDA concluded that it was feasible for the bottled water industry to provide the same types of information to consumers that public water systems must provide. However, the agency was not required to conduct a rule-making requiring that manufacturers provide such information to consumers, and has yet to do so."

  • "High risk" regulation
    The GAO has repeatedly warned that the FDA is not up to the task -- lacking staff, funding, and regulatory authority (while seeing staffing drop 19%, the facilities it was charged with inspecting increased 28% between about 2001 and 2007) -- to adequately police the nation's food supply. In January 2007, the GAO noted that the nation's food safety is a "high risk" area, in great part because it is policed by 15 separate agencies. Drinking water is only one more example.

Environmental impact

  • Waste
    While recycling of carbonated beverages, like soda and beer, is encouraged in many states with deposit laws, these bottle bills are much less common for bottled water. As a result, about 75% of plastic water bottles are thrown in the trash, rather than recycled.

  • Energy
    "Regarding the impact on U.S. energy demands, a recent peer-reviewed article noted that while the production and consumption of bottled water comprises a small share of total U.S. energy demand, it is much more energy-intensive than the production of public drinking water."

There are reasons to keep bottled water around: It's handy in case of an emergency, for instance. In most everyday cases, however, it's better for you and the environment to use a reusable water bottle and tap water (filtered if you think it improves the taste).

Many of the issues with bottled water that the GAO identified can be solved with changes in regulation: Water quality could be assured if it matches EPA standards; labeling could provide full disclosure of source and testing contaminants detected; the nation's food safety regulatory structure could be totally overhauled; and recycling rates could be improved with new bottled deposit laws.

However, bottled water will remain an item that lacks commonsense as long as U.S. tap water remains among the safest and most rigorously tested in the world.

The Daily Green previously summarized the problems with the bottled water industry like this:

The seven sins of bottled water

  1. Plastic bottles are made from petroleum.

  2. The bottles often go into the trash, rather than the recycle bin (in part because many states don't offer five-cent deposits to encourage recycling, as they do on soda and beer cans and bottles).

  3. The water is pumped far from where it is sold, creating needless pollution as trucks and barges transport it across the country or around the world.

  4. Some local communities have objected to the sale of their water, arguing that the water underground or flowing from natural springs is publicly owned and should not be exploited for profit.

  5. Bottled water is rarely as closely monitored as tap water.

  6. Tap water in the United States, when provided by a municipal system, is the most highly monitored and safe supply in the world.

  7. Some of the water sold in little plastic bottles is tap water, but it costs an awful lot more per gallon.