Boosting Circularity: Recycling Apparel and More

boosting circularity

The promotional products industry, known for its extensive use of branded merchandise, is ripe for a transformation towards greater sustainability and circularity.

As businesses and consumers become more environmentally conscious, there’s a growing demand for eco-friendly practices. Increasing circularity in this industry not only aligns with global sustainability goals but also offers companies a chance to innovate and stand out.

Understanding Circularity

Circularity refers to designing products and systems that minimize waste, keep materials in use, and regenerate natural systems. In contrast to the traditional linear economy of “take, make, dispose,” a circular economy emphasizes “reduce, reuse, recycle.” For the promotional products industry, this means creating or sourcing durable, reusable, and recyclable products and designing systems to recover and repurpose end-of-life products.

Strategies to Increase Circularity in Promotional Products

1. Eco-friendly Materials

The first step is helping your customers choose sustainable and recyclable materials. Advise your customers to opt for organic cotton, recycled polyester, bamboo, and other eco-friendly materials for apparel. For non-wearable items, present options made from recycled plastics, biodegradable materials, and sustainably sourced wood.

2. Durability and Reusability

High-quality products should be designed to last longer and have multiple uses. Guide your customers to choose durable items that withstand wear and tear and reduce the need for frequent replacements. Plus, multi-functional products add value, encouraging consumers to keep them longer, extending the life of your customer’s promotion.

3. Take-back Programs

Implementing take-back programs encourages consumers to return old promotional items. Suppliers can then refurbish, recycle, or upcycle these products. Offering incentives, such as discounts on future purchases, can enhance participation in these programs.

4. Upcycling and Repurposing

Upcycling transforms old products into new ones with minimal processing. For example, old banners can be turned into tote bags and unused apparel can be redesigned into new fashion items or accessories. This is a great option for misprints or single-use promos like event signage.

What Promo Items Can You Recycle?

Here are a few examples of the types of promo you can recycle and ways they can be turned into new items:

Apparel: Recycled fibers can be woven or knitted into new fabrics for t-shirts, hoodies, and other apparel items.

Bags and Accessories: Upcycled fabrics from banners, tents, or old clothing can be transformed into tote bags, pouches, and other accessories.

Office Supplies: Recycled plastics can be molded into pens, notebooks, and other office supplies.

Promoting Circularity Through Education and Awareness

Educating your customers about the benefits of circular products is essential. Highlighting recycled promotional products’ sustainability and ethical aspects can enhance their appeal. Additionally, transparent communication about these products’ sourcing, manufacturing process, and environmental impact builds trust and encourages more sustainable choices.

As consumers and businesses alike prioritize environmentally friendly choices, companies that can offer eco-conscious promotional items may gain a competitive advantage.

To learn more, visit PPAI’s Environmental Responsibility Resources for sustainability best practices, guides, and information on standards, organizations, and governing bodies.

Source: PPAI

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(Content Marketing Coordinator)

Ashley is the Content Marketing Coordinator at SAGE. She has a true passion for writing and blogging. In her free time, you can find her dancing ballet, cooking up one of her favorite recipes, or spending time with her husband Joe and puppy, named Pickles.

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