Featuring guest blogger Brian Hughes, Internet Marketing Director at farfromboring.com
The impetus for protecting our environment has been growing steadily for decades, and recognizing that is important. This is true not only for those with concerns about global warming and air pollution, but for people in all areas of marketing and business. If a high quality product can be made in an eco-friendly way, consumers tend to prefer the eco-friendly version.
Marketing trends, like politics, have always depended on popular demand. Richard Nixon was one of the most environmentally friendly presidents (establishing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Endangered Species Act) because he understood people cared about the environment in the early 1970s. Businesses and corporations need to recognize people care deeply about the environment today, and should act accordingly.
If your promotional paraphernalia is green and eco-friendly, it promotes a positive image that shows you care about the environment. Let’s take a look at the importance of eco-friendly practices.
Grow Gardens, Not Landfills
Growing fruits, flowers, and vegetables in a garden is a relaxing hobby that is good for the environment. Growing landfills, however, are not. Landfills are everywhere in the United States now, but it’s becoming more difficult to create new ones. Nobody wants a landfill in their back yard. If there was only one landfill in the US, it would have to cover more than 1000 acres. Here’s how this conclusion was drawn:
- The average person living in the US produces about three to four pounds of trash daily, an amount that includes plastic or glass bottles and cans, along with paper products like newspapers, magazines, and junk mail. Broken or out-of-date household appliances, Styrofoam cups and packing material, disposable diapers, and more all add up to an enormous amount of trash.
- All that trash takes up a large amount of space in a landfill. With an average population of 300 million people in the US multiplied by 3.5 pounds of trash daily, the total amount adds up to about 18,433,779,281 cubic feet of trash. If the pile was 400 feet deep, one landfill would require more than 1,000 acres of land.
If this was the only landfill in the US, and it was continually filled with trash for 100 years, and assuming the US population doubles, the landfill would cover about 160,000 acres. That adds up to 250 square miles with trash 400 feet deep – a lot of trash and a lot of space that over time would only keep growing! With these numbers in mind, growing one big landfill for each person’s trash is not a good idea for the environment. A more practical option is to use eco-friendly promotional products.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is Not a Hydroponic Garden
Not only are landfills rapidly “filling” up in North America, but the waters surrounding it are, too. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is creating significant problems for marine life in the Pacific Ocean.
What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an assortment of litter and debris in the waters of the North Pacific Ocean. It lies in a high pressure area between Hawaii and California and is in the middle of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. An ocean gyre is a circular ocean current formed by the wind patterns on earth and forces created by the planet’s rotation. The center of a gyre tends to be calm and stable but the circular motion of the gyre pulls in debris. The debris gets trapped in the center of the gyre and just keeps getting bigger. The debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch accumulates because much of it, such as plastic, is not biodegradable.
Oceanographers and climatologists say the Great Pacific Garbage Patch does exist and was discovered by Charles Moore, a racing boat captain, while sailing from Hawaii to California after competing in a race. Moore and his crew discovered millions of pieces of plastic surrounding their boat.
Why is Debris Detrimental to Marine Life?
The majority of the debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is plastic. Scientists have collected as many as 750,000 bits of plastic in a single square kilometer (or 1.9 million bits per square mile) in the patch. Bits of plastic in the water are quite harmful to marine life. For example, a loggerhead sea turtle could mistake a plastic bag for their favorite food, a jellyfish. Marine mammals and birds are also getting strangled by the plastic rings used to hold six-packs of soda together.
Debris in the water can block sunlight when it collects on the surface, effectively preventing it from reaching plankton and algae below. Algae and plankton are autotrophs, which means they are capable of producing their own nutrients from oxygen, carbon, and sunlight. If production is disturbed, marine life that counts on autotrophs for food will have less food to eat. If they die from starvation, tuna, sharks, and whales will have less to dine on as well.
How Should the Patch be Patched?
Simply “patching the patch” is not an option because the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located a great distance from any country’s coast, and no one wants to take responsibility or invest the necessary funding to clean it.
Cleaning up marine debris is difficult because pieces of debris can be the same size as some sea creatures. Using nets to catch debris often inadvertently captures the same size sea creatures, too. Because of the size of the ocean and the garbage patch, nets designed to just catch garbage would be an expensive and time consuming proposition. Using eco-friendly promotional products will help reduce the size of the Great American Garbage Patch. Using reusable bottles for drinking water, wearing clothing made from recycled material, and using products made from recycled materials will help alleviate the amount of waste making its way in to landfills and bodies of water.
Global Climate Change
Overwhelming scientific evidence tells us global warming, or climate change, is indeed happening. Here are a few facts you need to know:
- Average temperatures have risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit globally since 1880, mostly in recent decades.
- The 1980s and 1990s were the hottest decades in 400 years.
- The Arctic is feeling most of the effects. Average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average.
- Arctic ice is melting and disappearing, and the region may be completely free of ice by 2040 or earlier.
- Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting. Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. Thawing in the northern hemisphere now occurs about a week earlier in spring and freezing starts a week later in the fall. That might seem like good news for gardeners but is bad news for Mother Earth.
- Increasingly extreme weather, such as hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts, are a result of climate change.
So what’s the cause of climate change? If you guessed humans, you are correct. Scientists have long suggested humans are to blame for all or most of the changes happening to the climate. Switching to eco-friendly promotional products will not only save the environment, it will show that your business cares.
The Importance of Eco-Friendly Promotional Products
After learning about the effects of non-eco-friendly promotional products on the environment, you and your business should be more than convinced it’s time to start providing eco-friendly promotional products to your customers. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money throwing out your current promotional products and buying new ones. Instead, try replacing products as their current supply runs low, or are used up completely.
The (Recycled) Pen is Mightier than the Sword
Remember the saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword?” Obviously, the phrase was coined by a writer. But pens are truly the perfect way to advertise your business. They are relatively inexpensive, portable, and used on a daily basis by individuals and businesses. It’s easy to put your logo on a pen, and if it’s made from recyclables, you’ll advertise your care for the environment.
Water Bottles That Won’t Land in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Plastic water bottles are clogging the ocean and harming marine life, but you see them everywhere from the gym to the mall. We’re a nation obsessed with getting our recommended daily amount of water. There’s a better way to consume the recommended amount of water each day, however, by making a simple switch to a reusable water bottle. Reusable water bottles are often made from recycled materials such as plastic and aluminum and can be washed after use. Put your company logo on a reusable water bottle made from recycled materials and you will be doing your part to keep debris out of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Plastic Bags – Just Say No Thank You
Environmentally friendly totes have been one of the most popular eco-conscious promotional products for some time now. They are inexpensive, extremely versatile and are tremendous advertising vehicles, making them a natural solution to our plastic bag problems. The statistics on the effect of plastic bags on our environment are quite astounding. Here are some facts that are sure to make you say no thank you at the checkout and carry your own reusable, recycled totes.
- Four to five trillion plastic bags are manufactured each year.
- 1% of these are recycled.
- Plastic bags are made from polyethylene, which is a thermoplastic made from crude oil. China alone use billions of plastic bags and their ban on free plastic bags would save them over 37 million barrels of oil annually.
- It takes 1,000 years for polyethylene bags to break down.
- As polyethylene breaks down, toxic substances leach into the soil and enter the food chain.
- Plastic bags account for 10% of all coastline debris in the U.S.
- Eight million pounds of plastic end up in our oceans killing our wildlife to the tune of approximately one billion seabirds and mammals. These animals suffer a painful death, with the plastic strangulating their airways and intestines.
- If one out of five people in North America convert from plastic bags to reusable cloth totes, it will save our environment from the damage of 1.3 trillion plastic bags in our lifetime.
Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws took a leadership role in January 2009 by charging $0.05 for each plastic bag and thereby hopefully reducing their usage. Your company can take a similar stance in this initiative by using reusable, recycled tote bags as a promotional vehicle whenever possible. Talk to your promotional products distributor today to discuss the opportunities and go to http://www.debcoecosolutions.com for a look at your options.