Maybe you have some extra company or school t-shirts lying around, or maybe you got some freebies at an event. Regardless of how it got into your home, we’re all guilty of getting promotional items or "swag". From t-shirts and hats to pens, coozies and water bottles, these items are often given out as a way to promote a brand or a product. As someone once put it, “swag stands for Shit We All Get”.
But what do you do with all of this swag when it starts to pile up? If you're not careful, it can quickly become clutter and eventually end up in a landfill. Fortunately, there are several ways you can reduce the environmental impact of branded swag and make the most out of these items.
Here are some tips for recycling, upcycling, reusing, and repurposing your branded swag:
Give swag away to friends, family, coworkers or neighbors
If you have a lot of extra swag, consider sharing it with friends, family, or coworkers. This can be a great way to declutter your own space and help others out at the same time. You can also post in your local Buy Nothing group or community groups.
Upcycle swag into something new
Upcycling is the process of turning something old or discarded into something new and useful. With a little creativity, you can transform your branded swag into a variety of different items.
For example, using a pair of scissors, you can turn a t-shirt into rags or dish towels within a few minutes. If you know how to sew, you can turn t-shirts into braided rope coasters, rugs or bowls, or you can turn a t-shirt collection into a quilt.
Repurpose swag for a new use
If you have a promotional item that you no longer need or want, consider repurposing it for a new use. For example, a promotional bag can be repurposed as a lunch bag or shopping bag. Another option is repurposing water bottles and mugs as vases or planters for small house plants.
Donate it to a local charity or non-profit organization
If you have excess swag that you no longer need or use, consider donating it to a local charity or non-profit organization. Be sure to check that the organization you’re donating to is in need of the items that you have, and make sure your donations are in good condition. Remember that donations should impart dignity - they’re not an alternative to proper disposal!
The next time you’re offered branded swag, consider whether you’ll use it before accepting it. If you do end up with more swag, remember that recycling, upcycling, reusing, and repurposing can help to reduce waste and make the most out of these items.