Every business should find some way to market themselves in order to get more customers or keep their existing customers. I like to send something to my clients especially during the holidays either to thank them or to remind them of me. The struggle lies in living the zero waste life and giving customers junk that ends up in the landfill.
Experience is usually the go to zero waste gift but it may not necessarily be appropriate or it can be cost prohibitive. Unless you are gifting a specific person in mind, it’s always a good idea to find something neutral. Here are some zero waste corporate gift ideas.
Zero Waste Gifts that Fit in an Envelope
With Standard Postage
- Plantable Cards – Cards that you can plant in soil and grow wildflowers.
- Gift Cards / Gift Certificates – Online stores are the best option or some place you know that they frequent. You don’t necessarily have to buy the card. You can always buy it online and print out the code.
- Movie Tickets – Think about where your customers are. Pick a movie theatre close to their home / business.
- Postcard Size Calendar
- Tea Bags
Most of these are paper products that can be recycled or composted.
- Soaps (not the ones wrapped in plastic)
- Kitchen / Tea Towels
- Collapsible Cups
- Box of Baked Goodies
- Cotton Tote Bag / Foldable Tote Bags – Great for printing your company logo.
- Potted Plants
- Scented Candles
- Stainless Steel Water Bottles / Coffee Mug – Great for printing your company logo. I try to avoid plastic where possible.
- Hand Towels – Great for embroidering your company logo.
- Stainless Steel / Glass Containers – Great for engraving your company logo but I suggest filling the container with some goodies.
- Bamboo Toothbrush – Especially great if you are a dentist.
- Glass Straws – I think a lot of people will find it novel. If it’s glass, it is easier to see if the straw is cleaned properly. Don’t forget the pipe cleaner for the straw too.
Others Ideas that Didn’t Make the List
There is no point in giving gifts that a customer would not appreciate. Zero waste gifts may still end up in the landfill or become a dust collector at home. Here are some gift ideas that I think non-zero wasters would not appreciate.
- Reusable produce bags – I’m not sure if a lot of people remember to bring their own bags to the grocery store let alone produce bags.
- Fruit Basket – Maybe a small amount of fruit because do people seriously eat that much of fruit before it goes bad? It seems like most of the fruit will go to waste.
- Homemade Beauty Products – Too personal because everyone has their preferences unless you are in the business of selling beauty products but soap is the exception.
- Magazine Subscription – Not sure how that will remind people of your business.
- Sandwich / Snack Bags – I don’t know a lot of people who pack their own lunch to work or pack sandwiches.
- Mugs – There are just way too many mugs that end up in thrift stores.
- Coasters – There are zero friendly options but chances are, everyone who use coasters have them already.
- Cotton Napkins – Do people really use napkins at home?
- Travel Chopsticks – It depends on your customer base. Surprisingly, a lot of people struggle with chopsticks.
It goes without saying that if you are looking for zero waste ideas, make sure that you keep that in mind when wrapping your gifts. Recycled / paper envelopes and cardboard boxes are easily available. Skip the plastic ribbons, shiny confetti and use twine instead.