Thirsty for change? Try a greener mug of coffee

Posted on March 3, 2020 at 9:30 PM

the sustainable choice for promotional drinksware


Last time at Think Eco we told you who we are, and why we think going green is the only way.

We also touched on how you can make your promotional marketing more eco-friendly, and the short- and long-term benefits, for your business and the planet.

In the coming weeks and months we'll look in depth at all aspects of green promotional products and their benefits, but today, we're taking a big gulp at branded drinkware.

Travel mugs, sports and vacuum bottles are becoming increasingly popular in the promo merchandise world. Companies like yours value the benefits of such branded items to customers and prospects as high as the trusty promotional bag. On top of that, the demand for biodegradable single-use products has also gone through the roof.

Studies show the current increasing uptake is down to a number of factors in the UK economy, staff mobility among them. Ten years ago, the numbers of travelling employees began to rise dramatically, and so now, a much higher percentage of staff within organisations are spending more and more time outside of the office.

Not just sales staff either. The importance of face-to-face communication across all aspects of business has increased, creating a need for individuals to be mobile for work and ready for business travel.

Personal travel too – especially short breaks – has increased. As with travelling for work, individuals are prepping themselves more for weekends away, especially spent outdoors.

Just these factors alone have driven up drinkware demand, with branded travel mugs and flasks selling like hot cakes.

One of the great things about having your company logo on the side of a thermal cup is that it will be seen; putting it up there in terms of visibility with printed bags. If they travel, a lot, they are visible.

And unlike a pen, or a coffee mug, they are in the line of sight, be it on the train, a bus or the high street.

But can a travel mug be eco-friendly?

To highlight the benefits, you need to see the bigger picture. For starters, the takeaway market is among the prime contributors to landfill and waste, especially drinks. Even if your local coffee chain uses recycled cups, or plants a tree every time they sell a cappuccino, it's doing nothing to help stop waste pollution.

Branded travel mugs directly reduce the use of throwaway items. A company providing a promotional thermal cup to customers or prospects will no doubt have a positive eco impact.

Of course, this begs the question: "How eco-friendly is a branded travel mug, or sports bottle?"

Standard products will have a carbon footprint, and their recycling properties may be questionable.

Studies suggest that reusable coffee cups – bearing a logo or not – take between 20 and 100 uses to offset their carbon footprint.

The latter figure may seem high, but if you consider consumer behaviour, it's actually easily achievable. It's estimated that most students drink a cup of outlet coffee at least once a day. If those with such limited finances are drinking 100 cups in three months, no doubt those with more disposable can offset the carbon footprint just as easily.

We're all under pressure not only encourage consumers to reuse products, but also create products from recycled materials, and this has led to a new range of promotional drinkware, that is not only portable to meet the needs of the modern consumer, but is also made from materials that would normally end up in landfill.

Bamboo Beverage

At Think Eco we can offer travel mugs and sports bottles that not only guarantee re-use but are also manufactured from materials that have eco credentials.

Currently, that includes a range of insulated travel mugs made from bamboo – completely avoiding the use of finite materials. The icing on the cake is that these are actually biodegradable – so if they are thrown away, they disappear quickly leaving no harmful chemicals behind.

For marketing campaigns that require a branded product for the more active consumer, we are now able to offer sports bottles that are manufactured entirely from recycled milk cartons. The branding potential remains the same as a standard product, meaning there are no limitations to the advertising potential. Plus, these can be put into household recycling once they reach the end of their life span, to be made into another product.

Alternative Scenarios

Our products meet certain criteria and are ideal for companies offering branded giveaways with a high-perceived value, but generally, given away in lower quantities.

Coffee outlets, for example, might not see giving away free cups as part of their strategy, financially or otherwise. But what could be considered is the re-sale of such products, branded with their logo, offering an attractive incentive to re-use the purchased mug in the store. This not only encourages customer loyalty and promotes your business, it can also save on expenses due to a reduced demand on throwaway cups.

If investment in travel mugs is not viable, there's also the option to switch from standard paper cups to an eco-friendly alternative. Currently, we have single-use branded paper cups that are designed to biodegrade rapidly. This means that if they do end up in landfill, they won't cause a problem to the environment.

But Why?

We've talked a lot about the available products, and how any business can switch their standard promotional drinkware to something more "green". But why would anyone do this?

Putting to one side the environmental benefits, your company's "image" is a huge factor in the success of sustainable growth. Businesses that are seen to be pro-active in eco-friendly business practices will benefit from a more positive public opinion.

In a future blog we dive deeper into the PR aspects of going green, but for now consider this; it's better your brand is seen on products which respect the Planet.


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