Green Marketing with Recycled Materials in Promotional Products

The definition of “corporate responsibility” is changing and has been steadily for years.

Where once a company might be considered “responsible” for merely guaranteeing returns to shareholders, in 2024 that responsibility must extend to its effect on the planet as well.

In an era where environmental consciousness is not only appreciated but expected, businesses are rethinking their strategies to align with sustainable practices. This shift is a moral and business imperative, as consumers increasingly favor brands that demonstrate a commitment to the planet. One innovative approach gaining momentum is the use of upcycled and recycled materials in promotional products, an area where creativity meets sustainability.

Far from being mere buzzwords, upcycling and recycling are revolutionizing the promotional products industry, turning waste into wow-worthy merchandise. In this blog, we’ll delve into the transformative journey of upcycled and recycled materials in creating swag that not only carries your brand’s message but also embodies your commitment to sustainability. Join us as we explore this green revolution, where promotional items tell stories of environmental responsibility and innovative branding.

Ocean Bottle insulated water bottle in light blue


It’s evident that the tides of consumer preferences are turning. Businesses are increasingly recognized not just for their products and services but for their environmental stewardship as well. Recent studies reveal a startling trend: a significant majority of consumers are drawn towards brands that prioritize eco-friendly practices. This shift is not just a fleeting trend but a deep-seated movement, reflecting a growing awareness and concern for the planet.

The response from the business world has been swift and decisive. Companies across various sectors are integrating sustainable practices into their core operations, from reducing carbon footprints to embracing renewable energy sources. Among these green initiatives, the role of promotional products stands out as both unique and impactful. By choosing upcycled swag, businesses send a clear message: they are committed to a better, greener future.



But what exactly is upcycling, and how does it differ from recycling?

Upcycling is the process of transforming waste materials or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value. Unlike recycling, which often involves breaking down materials to their raw form, upcycling creatively repurposes them without extensive processing. This not only conserves resources but also reduces waste, leading to a more sustainable production cycle.

The distinction between upcycling and recycling is crucial in understanding their respective impacts. Recycling, while beneficial, often requires energy and resources for processing. Upcycling, on the other hand, adds value to the original material, giving it a new life and purpose. This creative reuse is at the heart of the upcycling movement, redefining waste as a resource rather than a byproduct.



Creating upcycled promotional products is an art that blends creativity with sustainability. The process begins with sourcing discarded materials, which are then cleaned and sorted. These materials are creatively repurposed into new products, often with the help of local artisans or innovative manufacturing techniques. This process not only gives new life to materials that would otherwise end up in landfills but also supports sustainable practices in manufacturing.

Innovative upcycling techniques are constantly evolving, allowing for a wider range of products to be created. From converting old tires into durable wallets to transforming scrap fabrics into unique accessories, the upcycling process is limited only by imagination.

Statistics from Ocean Bottle


The promotional products industry has been quick to embrace the upcycling trend, recognizing its potential to redefine corporate gifting and branding. This is great news for you: that means your upcycled merch options are not only more accessible, but more affordable as well.

Additionally, by turning waste into high-quality, desirable products, companies can make a significant environmental impact while promoting their brand. The benefits of this approach are varied:

Environmental Impact: Upcycled promotional products help reduce waste, conserve resources, and lower the carbon footprint associated with production.

Brand Image Enhancement: Associating your brand with upcycled products reflects a commitment to innovation and environmental responsibility, enhancing your brand’s image in the eyes of consumers.

Customer Appeal: Eco-friendly products resonate with a growing demographic of environmentally conscious consumers, making your promotional items more appealing and memorable.


In the realm of upcycled promotional products, the possibilities are as diverse as they are innovative. Here are some popular items that are making a mark in sustainable branding:

Upcycled Tote Bags: Crafted from recycled materials like banners, seatbelts, old apparel, and even plastic grocery sacks, these tote bags are not just stylish but also tell a story of sustainability.

Eco-Friendly Writing Instruments: Pens made from recycled paper or plastic offer a practical yet environmentally conscious choice.

Reusable Drinkware: Drinkware made from recycled plastics, glass, or polymers reduce reliance on virgin materials, offering a sustainable alternative for everyday use.



Choosing upcycled and recycled promotional products offers numerous benefits for your brand:

Long-Term Value: These products are often more durable and unique, ensuring that they are kept and used for longer periods, thereby extending the lifespan of your promotional message.

ROI: Investing in sustainable promotional products can lead to a higher return on investment, as consumers are increasingly drawn to brands that align with their values.

To illustrate this, consider the success stories of brands that have integrated eco-friendly products into their marketing campaigns. These case studies showcase the positive impact and increased brand loyalty generated by sustainable promotional initiatives.


Embracing upcycled and recycled promotional products in your marketing strategy is a step towards sustainable branding. Here’s how you can implement this:

Assess Your Audience: Understand the preferences of your target audience. Are they environmentally conscious? Will they appreciate and use eco-friendly products?

Choose Relevant Products: Select products that align with your brand values and resonate with your audience. This could range from eco-friendly office supplies to sustainable apparel.

Communicate Your Efforts: Sometimes it’s okay to toot your own horn! When it comes to sustainable promotional items, we encourage you to use your marketing channels to highlight your commitment to sustainability. This transparency builds trust and enhances your brand’s image.

By incorporating eco-friendly promotions, you not only contribute to environmental conservation but also connect with your audience on a deeper, values-driven level.


The future of promotional products is undoubtedly leaning towards sustainability and innovation. As technology advances and awareness grows, we can expect to see an even greater variety of upcycled and recycled materials being used in promotional items. Here are some predictions for future trends:

Increased Use of Biodegradable Materials: As the world moves away from plastics, biodegradable materials will become more prevalent in promotional products. For example, did you know you can get completely customized Frisbees made of cornstarch and beach balls made of a dissolvable polymer?

Technological Integration: Expect to see more products that combine sustainability with technology, such as solar-powered gadgets or items with built-in sustainability tracking.

The journey from waste to wow in the world of promotional products is an inspiring example of how sustainability can be seamlessly integrated into business practices. Upcycling and recycling not only help in conserving resources and reducing waste but also offer an opportunity for brands to make a positive environmental impact. By choosing upcycled and recycled materials for your promotional swag, you’re not just promoting your brand, you’re also advocating for a greener, more sustainable future.

It’s time for businesses to think beyond the traditional and embrace the potential of eco-friendly promotional products. Let your next marketing campaign be a testament to your brand’s commitment to sustainability.

Ready to make a difference with your promotional products? Explore the eco-friendly and upcycled options available at In the Bag Promotions. Start a project with us today that not only elevates your brand but also contributes positively to our planet.