What does RCS or GRS certified mean?

The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) are international, voluntary standards that set requirements for third-party certification of recycled input and chain of custody. The shared goal of the standards is to increase the use of recycled materials.

The GRS includes additional criteria for social and environmental processing requirements and chemical restrictions.

Objectives of both the RCS and GRS

  • Alignment of recycled definitions across multiple applications.
  • Verify recycled content in products
  • Provide consumers (both brands and end consumers) with a tool to make informed decisions.

Additional Objectives of the GRS

  • Reduce harmful impact of production to people and the environment.
  • Provide assurance that products are processed more sustainably.
  • Drive higher percentages of recycled content in products.

For more information please visit here https://textileexchange.org/standards/recycled-claim-standard-global-recycled-standard/

10 effective ways to use promotional products

Promotional products; 10 effective uses to help you get more value.

1. Increase brand awareness

jute bag

When your customers seek ‘X type of product’ what brand do they think of first and why? Making sure the right people think of your product or service, at exactly the right moment, is what brand awareness is all about. Your product or service may be technically superior, it may be cheaper, it may be a whole long list of wonderful things but if people don’t recognise your brand, or even worse, are confused by what it stands for, your sales team will have a mountain to climb. Promotional products help to raise brand awareness and spread the message. Get known by more people for less.

2. Improve customer loyalty with promotional products

recycled mug70% of companies say it’s more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Earning and retaining customer loyalty is paramount. People ‘buy people’, so give ‘your people’ the tools to spread goodwill. Promotional products offer a cost-effective medium for increasing customer loyalty. Maybe your audience is very traditional, they want the printed calendar for their desk or a simple pen? Maybe your clients will be enthused by something more sophisticated like a wireless charger. Make sure your brand name is right there, front and centre, just when it needs to be!

3. Promote a specific product, message or event

printed umbrella

Use promotional products to highlight the attributes of a particular product or service. Connectivity, integration, speed, efficiency; all of these concepts can be communicated by the right promotional product. Add a strap-line or event title to your branding to tie-in with your campaign. Continue the main theme of your campaign through your promotional give-aways; match shapes, colours, and functionality.

4. Recognise employees

waterproof bag

Good people are hard to find. Great people are hard to keep. Making sure that colleagues, of all levels, are properly recognised is key to your organisation’s success. A staff umbrella for the winter, a ‘new starter’ pack or gym bag to encourage a healthy lifestyle can all form part of a programme of recognition and reward. We all like to feel valued. Promotional products can help to add the value that staff retention relies upon.

5. Increase footfall to your trade show booth

promotional sweetsCatch the eye. Giveaways are a great, low-cost method of attracting interest and spreading goodwill. Why not turn each visitor into a mobile advertising platform by giving them a free bag? Have a low-cost, high volume giveaway like sweets or stickers to giveaway en masse. Then take something more sophisticated to give to your key contacts after that important scheduled meeting. And remember, merchandise is made to order so the more time you allow for production the better the product will be – don’t leave it to the last minute!

6. Kit your staff in uniform

promotional jackets

Teams wear team kits. Armies wear a uniform. It’s simple stuff. Put everyone in some form of uniform and subconsciously they start to work together. Uniform, even if it’s just an embroidered shirt for wearing at a trade show, will help make your staff more visible and feel more valued. Uniform projects a professional image to existing and potential clients. Think about it, who do you feel more confident buying from? The smartly dressed person decked in company colours or the non-descript guy loitering around at the back of the trade-show booth? And what sort of image do you want your delivery drivers to portray? As the old maxim goes, ‘you never get a second chance to create a good first impression’. We offer a wide range of clothing and headwear.

7. Say thank you to a VIP

X-Pack 6 golf gift setDecision-makers are hard to get to and even harder to satisfy. It’s never been tougher to maintain a personal relationship now that we all operate in a digital world. And yet, people still ‘buy people’. The big decisions are still almost always sealed with a face to face meeting or a level of personal trust built over many years. So say thank you, at that opportune moment, to the person who has placed their trust in your product or service. What’s an appropriate gift for your key contacts? Do women want the same as men? Is there a price point, too low and the item may seem insulting, too high and you stray into the minefield of inappropriateness. Check with the people who manage the relationship.

8. Tie-in promotional products with an event or season

promotional cup

Four seasons and numerous religious, cultural and sporting events combine to create a busy calendar of potential themes for your next promotional campaign. But be careful, make sure you aren’t about to offend someone or infringe a copyright! People are individuals with individual attitudes and beliefs. The title of a major sporting event is often copyrighted and many images and terms associated with major events are protected too. So yes, it’s cool and often really effective to tie your promotional campaign in with a moment in time, but before you do make sure you’ve done your homework.

9. Add value with a premium gift

key ringEver wondered why you got a freebie inside a box of breakfast cereal? Did you know McDonald’s Restaurants is the largest toy retailer in the world? Multi-nationals follow the tried and tested approach of ‘premium’ marketing; add a low-cost extra to your core product to alter the overall perception of value. Could you do something similar? Buy our plumbing products and get a free tape measure!

10. Promote cost-effectively, sustainably and responsibly

printed pens

As digital advertising costs spiral and social media marketing flatters to deceive, traditional marketing methods have begun to regain ground. Promotional products offer a low-cost channel for generating brand awareness and promoting goodwill. And now you can go green with promotional products!


Switch to eco promotional products

Generation Z is angry and organised; is your business ready?

Why it makes sense to switch to eco promotional products

Some old people think the warmer weather is a good thing! It’s also clear that some think climate change is a left-wing conspiracy.

But younger people are thinking very differently, and furthermore they’re pretty ANGRY about the whole thing!

So whatever your sector, whatever your product, whoever your customer is, it’s time to respond with actions not words to what’s happening with attitudes around climate change, pollution and ethics.

Facts, yes facts not fake news, prove that these issues are real and that they will have a significant impact on demand for your products and services.

This is why it makes sense to switch to eco promotional products.

Plastic is the new tobacco

18 billion pounds of plastic waste ends up in our oceans each year. Over 817 animal species around the world are affected by ocean pollution and more than 100,000 marine animals die each year from plastic entanglement and ingestion. Just 10 rivers carry 93 per cent of the trash that feeds into our oceans; the Yangtze, Yellow, Hai, Pearl, Amur, Mekong, the Indus and Ganges Delta in Asia, and the Niger and Nile in Africa. The Yangtze alone dumps up to an estimated 1.5 million metric tons of plastic waste into the Yellow Sea.

So plastic is about to become the new tobacco; dirty, anti-social, old-fashioned.

Yes, as you will see we are still selling plastic products or products with some plastic components, but we’re trying hard to reduce the amount each year and so are many of our suppliers – ‘the writing is on the wall’ for our industry so to speak!.

Alternatives to plastics

There are plenty of responsible alternatives across all of our product categories. 15 years ago you would have had a choice of say 50 items, now there are hundreds!

From the original recycled pencil to pencils made from old banknotes and denim jeans. The war on disposable cups has created a new choice of drinkware options including products made from bamboo and recycled bottles.

Bamboo is becoming a popular substitute for plastic components with items such as the bamboo wireless charger are becoming very popular.

Clothing too is a category of real innovation. The U.S. Alternative Apparel has some really innovative products, almost all of our clothing products are WRAP certified.

And as the plastic bag has been confined to the history books by many large retailers, we offer a wide range of organic cotton and jute shopper bags.

It’s also about sustainability and ethics

eco promotional itemsDo you want to be the business who bought products from a factory full of kids, kids just like your own? Do you care about sustainability or is that stuff just for hippies and management-speak types? Within a business context, it’s not what you think that counts, its what your customer thinks – and their customer – and their customer!

You could buy the cheapest T shirt or you could buy a WRAP certified product. Worldwide 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment; 152 million are victims of child labour.

Similarly, you could buy the cheapest sticky note or you could buy a recycled product. Tropical deforestation is now responsible for 11 per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions.

And why not make a virtue of your decision to buy responsibly? Why not advertise the fact that your business or brand, does care about the environment and social standards? In fact, maybe in the long-run, the ‘cheapest’ items are the certified products? In other words, to Ignore issues around sustainability and ethics may prove to be an expensive mistake.

Climate change will never kill goodwill

Promotional products create goodwill, that’s it in a nutshell. In turn, goodwill creates relationships which generate profit. People buy people. So, it follows that, as long as trade exists, there will be a need to create goodwill. Alongside goodwill there co-exists a perennial desire for all things new. New products excite and help to project the concept of progress and innovation. Right, ok so promotional products get to survive but they a have to be different. Products have to be recyclable, they have to be biodegradable, they have to come from sustainable sources and be responsibly sourced. Yes, you can have giveaways but those giveaways have to be different from those churned out during the era of waste.

Business is not ‘bad’, it just needs to change

Generation ZCurrently, it seems almost impossible, for a business, not to be viewed as hypocritical and inconsistent when it comes to many of the issues outlined above. Some will think that our approach is cynical. They are wrong. We have no company cars, we all work from home so there’s no commute. We try to recycle what we can, and through a developing range of products, try to encourage our clients to switch to using more ethical and responsible promotional items. Where we can we are sourcing products manufactured in the U.K. to reduce the need for air and sea freight.

However, even though we are minuscule in comparison to the 20 most polluting companies in the world, we still face real challenges. For example, we recently tried to replace some of our packaging materials with more environmentally friendly alternatives. Some items were quite easy to switch-out but others proved really difficult to replace with products that performed just as well.

Small businesses often rely on larger businesses, who have much greater resources, to drive innovation. Maybe it’s just too easy for some sectors to default to ‘business as usual’? Maybe the use of some materials has to become illegal before we get real change?

We are light-years from perfect, but we are trying!

The young have chosen NOT to ignore facts. Unlike their parents and grand-parents, Generation Z appears to have an increased ability to think critically and, is becoming understandably impatient. Heatwaves are now 30 times more likely due to climate change. Temperatures of 21.2 degrees Celsius were recorded in London’s Kew Gardens on February 26, 2019. It was the warmest winter day the UK has ever experienced. A few months later, the warmest ever Summer day (38.7 degrees Celsius) was recorded. Which bit of this are people struggling to understand?

So yes we are, as a micro-enterprise, of course, light-years from perfect! – but we are conscious of the issues and are trying to improve.











RSS Feed

Subscribe to our RSS feed

Sign up for our mailing list