The Woes of Eco-Friendliness at Conventions .. and Ideas for Being Green

Out of the Office Virtual Assistance is participating in another upcoming conference – Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce‘s small BIZ VT summit next month. While we are excited to exhibit and meet some great folks, there is always that gut-tightening feeling. No .. I’m not talking about nerves. I reserve that for the 2-3 days before the conference. What eats away at my psyche is finding eco-friendly collateral materials and promotional items to have in our booth.

Working hard to maintain our green policies, it can be very challenging, and somewhat disheartening, to plan for a conference. The obvious “gimmicks” – disposable pens, post-it’s, key chains, etc. When you remove plastics and disposables, you’re not left with many affordable options. Since we run paperless, using a promotional item such as journals, are hypocritical. So what are some other options?

Go Biodegradable – Food!

When we participated at TechJam this past fall, it was during prime apple-picking season. We contacted a local orchard and secured 3 bushels of super large apples from Shelburne Orchards for the 2-day show. Depending on the time of year and your location, consider contacting someone locally for apples, pears, peaches, or any other grab-n-go produce that is healthy. We found that all but 2 booths who provided food as a give away, gave out candy and we were praised for giving away something healthy.

Tip: Whatever you opt for when it comes to a foodie giveaway, make sure you like it. Chances are you’ll be bringing some home. Luckily, only 10 apples came back home with us from TechJam. They were yummy!

Other foodie ideas? Again, this it dependent on your local area:

  • Cheese: A big thanks to Cabot Creamery for providing their award winning cheddar for the small BIZ VT summit
  • Mini croissants from the local bakery
  • Locally produced chocolates: Don’t over buy, just so you can have extra and check to see if they use fair-trade cocoa.
  • Maple syrup nips
  • Tins of mints/skittles/gummi bears/jelly beans: Tins are almost always repurposed.
  • Mini hot cocoa tins
  • Tea bags: You can get regular black tea in a custom printed packet; just ask if the packet is paper, foil, or plastic so you know which is the best environmental option.
  • Photo cookies: Usually you will need to go to the large bakeries or grocery stores to get these. Basically, they are plain cookies with your logo in icing on the top.

Other Greenie Items?

Many promotional companies have a eco-friendly section where their items are sourced using high post-consumer recycled content, or eliminate/reduce the amount of plastic is said items, so be sure to look there.

Depending on your price point:

  • Coffee mugs
  • Stainless Steel water bottles
  • Metal LED Flashlights
  • Reusable grocery bags
    • If you love ChicoBags like we do, they do offer a custom run, so contact them 🙂

So yes, there are options – you just need to search them out and be environmentally conscious of your promotional item purchases. If the price point makes you cringe, then forego the tchotchkes. Just have plenty of up-to-date business cards, a presentation and an award-winning enthusiasm for you and your business.

About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:

logo1bAt Out of the Office, we are committed to providing earth-friendly administration and offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.

Image credit: Nemo | CCO Public Domain