The environmental movement has produced a profound shift in consumer thinking.
Industries are not judged solely by the quality of products or services that they create but also by the effects they have on the environment. This explains why some of the most maligned companies such as Exxon-Mobil and Monsanto are in industries that have engaged in questionable environmental practices.
Sampling may be a much smaller line of business but it needs to keep up with changing consumer preferences. As more and more people demand products that do not cause harm to the environment, companies must respond with eco-friendly packaging that goes beyond the product itself.
So, what are the ways that a textile manufacturer or granite producer can create samples that reflect their commitment to making a healthier planet? The easiest way would be to use more environmentally friendly materials for the actual product manufactured by the company. However, there are other simple ways to make samples with a green thumb.
1. Use less material.
What makes samples both difficult to work with and expensive is the sheer amount of resources that need to be used in order to make them. Textile manufacturers use a lot of product to make stack books so that consumers can easily look through different designs and materials. The more new products that are introduced the more costly it becomes to create samples.
One way to offset that cost is to make samples that use less material such as fan decks, swatch cards and memos. Fan decks make it easy for customers to compare different styles while memos can be used to send to customers that have a strong interest in that particular design. Either way using less material makes sense environmentally and economically.
2. Use eco-friendly packaging.
While normal samples use packaging such as vinyl and cardstock, there are more options out there. If companies want to incorporate eco-friendly materials they can use recyclable chip board, post-consumer recycled cardstock and organic adhesive. These materials make it easy to show that your company is dedicated to helping the environment and willing to take concrete action.
More than a generic statement about how your company is trying to go green, you can put a product in their hands that backs it up. Printing with water-based inks also helps the environment by using natural resources instead of harsh chemicals. Whatever materials you decide to go with, make sure that they communicate your company's values and connect with customers.
3. Recycle old products.
After samples become outdated or worn they usually go to the trash and add waste to the environment. Since so many samples are manufactured the toll certainly adds up. An easy solution to this is to make a concerted effort to recycle and reuse old samples. If companies have their own recycling protocol then they can include their samples with other materials or give it to an outside facility.
However, the best way to recycle old samples is to send them back to the manufacturers of those samples. That way they can reuse the same materials for reorders and other future projects. The companies who purchase the samples simply don't have the same use for those materials. Reusing them prevents unnecessary waste and reduces the need to buy additional material.
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