10 Recycled or Waste-Reducing Swaps for Classic Swag

Is your perception of recycled or waste-reducing related products stuck in the past? Let’s face it, recycled and waste-reducing promotional products weren’t always what they are now. Though intentions may have been noble, first efforts at recycled and related swag didn’t always hold up to the test of time or trends. Fast-forward to today, and many recycled or waste-reducing swaps are actually the best option. 

How’d this happen? Well, out of necessity. The recycled or waste-reducing product industry is booming. More people are looking for recycled and related options for everyday items, as well as for custom gifts and giveaway items. With that increased demand has come innovative solutions. It’s no longer true that recycled and related swaps are more expensive—in some cases, they’re even cheaper! Plus, a main draw of these products has become their quality and trendy, natural aesthetic. Perhaps most important of all, your choice of recycled or waste-reducing swaps makes an important statement about the values and priorities your brand holds dear. This breeds good vibes and trust among your target audience. 

Below we’ll cover all the easy recycled and related swaps you can make to create to advance your brand, impress your customers, and reduce waste!

A Good Time to Swap!

According to a 2020 study by Ad Specialties Industry (ASI), 46% of people will have a more favorable opinion of a brand that markets with waste-reducing items.1 Give potential customers the right impression about your company. From reusable bags to coffee pens, here are some of our top picks for recycled and related promotional products

Reusable Shopping Bags vs. Plastic Bags

It’s in the name: reusable! Unlike plastic bags, customers will continue using reusable bags for years. Customers love this alternative because they can fit more inside than traditional plastic bags, and the non-woven fabric (made of post-consumer recycled plastic) makes them more durable to handle extra weight. That means your logo will get way more visibility when you make this waste-reducing swap. At a cost that’s less than many custom plastic bags, options like this Budget Shopper RPET Tote are a great value. 

Recycled Notebooks vs. Standard Notebooks

It may look, feel, and cost the same as standard notebooks, but don’t let this recycled swap fool you. The 8.3″ x 5.8″ Stacy Recycled Cotton Notebook is made with recycled cotton and includes 80 sheets of recycled, lined paper. When you pick a custom notebook made with recycled cotton, there’s no need to compromise on style or sophistication! 

Reusable Bottles vs. Single-Use Bottles

With reusable water bottles being so in style, they are one giveaway item that’s sure to get your logo seen. Putting your branding on a plastic water bottle is a great way to promote at charity walks, trade shows, or where you need to get water to lots of people quickly and cheaply. However, they won’t provide much of a lasting brand impact. Reusable water bottles like this HIP® 19 oz. Live Eco Bottle will get used again and again, and will travel with customers well beyond your event. Your branding is bound to get more visibility with this easy swap. 

Recycled Plastic Pens vs. Plastic Pens

One of the ways pens are becoming waste-reducing giveaway items is by using recycled materials to require less plastic. The Full Color Recycled Plastic Zia Pen is made with post-consumer recycled plastic and sports the recycling icon opposite the pocket clip. It features your logo in full color to catch even more attention! With the budget-friendly cost and ease of gifting, pens made with recycled plastic are a great way to show more people that your company cares. 

RPET Backpacks vs. Regular Backpacks


If you want a recycled giveaway item that doesn’t look any different from its classic counterpart, this backpack is the recycled swap for you. RPET backpacks like the JanSport® Cool Student Recycled Backpack are made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. They feel exactly the same as traditional backpacks and have all the same pockets and padded laptop sections. 

RPET Lunch Bag vs. Plastic Lunch Bag

Swap out your old lunch bag giveaway and display your messaging proudly every day on this 4-Can Pack & Go Recycled Lunch Cooler Bag. Crafted with post-consumer recycled polyester, this lunch bag boasts a practical design your recipients will love. The fold-over top seals in freshness, while built-in handles ensure comfortable carrying. Foil-lined insulation keeps meals at the perfect temperature. 

RPET Cooler Bag vs. Regular Cooler Bag

Here’s another case where with a recycled swap the upside is amazing! Can you tell the difference between this and a regular cooler bag? We can’t either! This 40-Can RPET Party Cooler Bag is made from post-consumer recycled plastic. This can cooler keeps drinks 40 cans cold, hands dry, and your logo visible—all while utilizing RPET instead of virgin plastic! Now that’s cool! 

Stainless Steel Straw Keychain Kit vs. Regular Keychain

Why go with a regular keychain promotion when you can give out a branded stainless steel straw kit keychain that customers will use on a daily basis? This is one of those swaps that does wonders for your branding. A custom reusable straw replaces single-use plastic straws, and sends a strong message about your brand’s values.

Recycled Stainless Steel Tumbler vs. Regular Stainless Steel Tumbler

 Go the extra mile with reusable drinkware when you step up your drinkware giveaway game from stainless steel to recycled stainless steel! With the Klean Kanteen® 27 oz. Recycled Stainless Steel Bottle, recycled style meets refreshing hydration! The design features a sports cap and a removable, soft silicone spout for comfortable use. This water bottle, crafted with 90% recycled stainless steel, is a win for you, your branding, and your customers. 

Bamboo Bottle Opener vs. Regular Bottle Opener

This Magnetic Bamboo Bottle Opener will make your recipients feel good with every can opened! It features bamboo, durable steel, and a fridge magnet for easy display. Why give a regular bottle opener when you can elevate your brand with a bamboo option! 

Captivate Customers with Recycled & Waste-Reducing Promotional Products

When you incorporate recycled and related swaps into your swag budget you can look trendy, save money, and market with gifts you and your customers can feel good about! The recycled, waste-reducing, and other products above are just the tip of the iceberg (and let’s keep it frozen, folks!). Check out our full collection of recycled and related promotional products for the latest in recycled and related giveaway items like pens, bags, stationery, and drinkware, plus alternative materials like recycled plastic, recycled stainless steel, glass, jute, organic cotton, recycled cotton, and much more!  


  1. https://media.asicentral.com/resources/2020-Global-Ad-Impressions-Study.pdf
Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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