They’ve always been the bane of environmentalists, but 2018 was the year that plastic straws became every brand’s enemy number one.
Talk to any marine biologist about single-use plastics and the state of the ocean and be prepared to never look at an iced coffee from Starbucks the same way again. You’ve heard about this, right? The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is floating somewhere between California and Hawaii and it’s made up of everything that’s ugly about human consumption.
But really, are plastic straw bans going to make a dent in the floating mini-continents of plastic? Lawmakers in cities that have passed plastic straw ban laws—and the entire state of California—seem to think so.
But if you crunch the numbers on plastic, you quickly see how big the problem is. On average we’re throwing away nearly 88 pounds of plastic per human, per year. Plastic straw bans are a drop in the trash bucket. So why is it suddenly shameful to ask for a straw for your smoothie?
Easy: it’s a PR issue. It could be a good PR issue (banning straws) or it could be a bad PR issue (waiting too long to ban straws).
We want you to be on the right side of the PR issue. In this case, it’s your promotional t-shirt that could find it’s way (for better or for worse) into the media limelight. Here’s how to make sure you’re on the right side of this future PR issue.
Stop Making Trash Tees
Turns out we’re throwing away almost as much clothing and textile material as we are single-use plastics, some 25 billion pounds per year in the U.S. While ample vintage clothing shops and Goodwill boutiques would have us believe that most of our castoffs are being recycled, industry figures show that only 15 percent of textile waste is finding a future outside of the landfill.
While so-called fast fashion gets a lot of flack for producing poorly made and super trendy clothes that are just a few wears away from the dumpster, promotional garments also have a bad reputation for waste and there are entire articles advising marketers what to do when they accidentally order too many t-shirts. But there are only so many client gift baskets you can sneak leftover t-shirts into. (Of course you can always make a quilt!)
And yet there’s a reason brands are still tempting PR fate and printing up promotional gear: It’s an effective marketing tool.
When it comes to name recognition, promotional products work. Consumers are more likely to remember a brand from a promotional product than they are from a television ad. A much cited study from the Advertising Specialty Institute found that promotional items were cheaper and more effective than TV or print advertising in terms of brand recognition recall. And the favorite promotional item? Yep, it’s the t-shirt.
Order the Crisis-Free T
So how can t-shirt printers and their customers make sure their promotional t-shirt doesn’t become the next bad PR issue — AKA the next plastic straw?
Put your logo on a t-shirt that’s part of the solution. That’s an Allmade blank t-shirt for those who like to delay the gratification of clicking an embedded link.
Floating alongside all those plastic straws in the Pacific Ocean are plenty of plastic bottles. Allmade tri-blend t-shirts are made with 50 percent Repreve®, a polyester fabric made from recycled plastic — about six bottles per shirt.
Take that, Garbage Patch.
Allmade is committed to reducing the use of toxic pesticides (also damaging to all kinds of marine life) by using 100 percent organic cotton — 25 percent of the tri-blend.
And that last 25 percent? That’s where Allmade brings in the soft. TENCEL™ Modal is an environmentally superior choice to viscose — the old-school way of making fabric feel soft but using toxic and corrosive chemicals. TENCEL Modal is made with environmentally friendly, compostable fibers in a factory in Austria that uses 83 percent renewable energy. It’s a fiber that makes the fabric feel comfortable, easy on your body and on the planet too.
Not that you’re keeping track of the Allmade environmental bonafides, but add one more: Allmade built its manufacturing around creating a sustainable economy in Haiti.
So the next time you’re ordering promotional apparel, pause and think about your PR team. Would you like an unannounced visit from them some Sunday afternoon as you’re just about to sit down with a nice sparkling rosé and the Sunday Styles section? Fact: Most PR crises happen when it’s least desirable. Or would you prefer to visit them in advance, with some PSLs (sans plastic straw) in hand and a PR story worth pitching? It’s all about the straw-free latte and the sustainable promotional t-shirt from here on out.