Do you have storage boxes full of promotional materials that you can’t use anymore? Maybe they have old branding, outdated information, or you over-ordered. You may be tempted to throw these items in the garbage or recycling, but they can still be useful when they’re repurposed.
If you have an environmental policy for your business and are trying to minimize waste, we have some suggestions for how you can give new life to your expired, out-of-date, or misprinted merch.
Giveaways for contests
Do a social media contest and give away merchandise that is left over from your event or campaign. People love getting free stuff, and even though your tote bags have old branding on them, that doesn’t mean they can’t be useful for someone else to carry their groceries home.
Use for Direct Mailers
If you have leftover or excess flat and lightweight items like notepads and sticky notes, these can easily be stuffed in envelopes for clients and prospects through direct mailing campaigns. They’re lightweight and give the recipient something tangible from your business. It’s an easy way to say thanks!
Incentives and gifts for staff
There’s no reason you can’t give your current staff useful end-of-life merch items from your company. Maybe you can leave the mugs with last year’s logo in the breakroom for staff to use. Perhaps you could leave old pens and notebooks in conference rooms for people to take meeting notes when they forget their own supplies.
Open an online store
If you have end-of-life merch that still has good practical use, consider adding them to your corporate store or create a special pop-up shop to sell to customers/staff. Depending on how old the promotional items are, you could call them “vintage” to make them more enticing!
Donate for door prizes or attendee gift bags
Organizations and conferences always look for donations for door prizes and attendee gift bags. You may be able to attach a small up-to-date flyer or business card to the item. And donating merch items to these events could get you mentioned in show programs as a sponsor or donor.
Donate excess merchandise & products
Many charities and organizations need donations to support at-risk populations. Here are some great places to donate your unwanted merch:
- Office Supplies: Office supplies are needed everywhere. These can be donated to animal shelters, women’s shelters, and local non-profit groups.
- Drinkware: Drinkware is great for donating to shelters and organizations that support the homeless or displaced. Community centres may also accept these donations for their community rooms.
- Toys: Donate children’s toys and games to toy drives at Christmas, donate to a local children’s non-profit, or to a women’s and children’s shelter to give to those in need.
- Clothing: Homeless shelters that support those in need are great for clothing and wearables. You could consider taking a walk around the community, giving your old branded coats, blankets, and hats to the homeless in your community or local shelters.
- Food and drink: Look for a homeless shelter in your area or one that serves meals to the homeless. Their members may appreciate a bar of nice chocolate or a goodie for dessert.
- Electronics and Accessories: When they’re no longer functional or use obsolete technology, donate these to an electronics circular recycling program like the Eco-Train Phone Case Recovery Program. This company takes the components from these end-of-life electronics and turns them into new products.
We love upcycling old giveaways that you can’t otherwise use. Here are four creative ideas to upcycle your old merch
- Upcycle drinkware into planters: Drinkware makes the perfect planter for a small flower or succulent.
- Turn vinyl banners into bags: If you have old tradeshow vinyl banners and fabric signage, you can turn them into new products like bags and clothing. Check out 9+ other ways to upcycle vinyl banners and billboards.
- Reuse mousepads for DIY coasters: Mousepads make great repurposed drink coasters. Get a promotional company to upcycle these for you. You can often get up to four drink coasters from one mousepad.
- Turn old apparel into totes: We love how the Aspen Skiing Company recently took their old staff ski jackets and turned them into fantastic messenger bags. They were even able to line up the logo for the front of the bag.
Do you know your End of Life Product Policy?
If your business has an environmental mandate and wants to minimize your impact on the environment, consider creating an End of Life Policy. When buying merch from a promotional items company, have a purposeful plan to minimize overbuying and deal with the merch when it has outlasted its usefulness or practicality.
For example, at Fairware, we aim to sell items that can be used for a long time. However, inevitably all items will end of life and no longer be safe or usable. We have a range of solutions to deal with these items in other ways before they need to be thrown in a landfill. Just connect with us to discuss a way to manage your old merch.
Another part of our end of life products strategy includes accommodations for misprints. Other promo companies may just throw away misprints but we aim to find ways to re-print or re-use them or fine upcycled uses for these items.
Do you have end of life products right now?
Do you walk past your storeroom every day and cringe knowing there is extra merch sitting there waiting to end up in a landfill? Ready to find new homes and uses for these products? Check out our Upcycled Merchandise Lookbook today, and talk to our team about how you can upcycle your unused merch and give them new life.