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Why Cork?

25 Mar

Spring is starting here in Texas. As is planning for a number of Texas wine events. So I thought this was a good time to post this information on cork and the cork coasters from Americanna.


1) Sustainably Harvested Cork

Careful forest management not only provides for the continued extraction of the cork oak but helps to create the conditions for a diverse range of other products that are harvested from the woodlands. A harmonious balance is maintained, where local people can provide for their needs without damaging the ecosystem or threatening the long-term sustainability of their most important natural resource. The cork oak is a slow growing tree that may live for 200 years, which allows it, on average, to be stripped 16 times during its lifetime. The first stripping only takes place after 25 years, when the trunk of the tree has a circumference of 70 cm.

Set of 6 Cork Coasters with Wine Bottle Holder.

Set of 6 Cork Coasters with Wine Bottle Holder.

2) Biodiversity Hotspot

Cork oak trees help to conserve soil by providing protection against wind erosion and increasing the rate at which rainwater infiltrates and recharges groundwater. Cork oak landscapes cover approximately 2.7 million hectares of Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France. As well as providing a vital source of income for more than 100,000 people, these landscapes also support one of the highest levels of biodiversity among forest habitats, including globally endangered species such as the Iberian Lynx, the Iberian Imperial Eagle and the Barbary Deer. The Mediterranean is one of the 25 global ‘hot spots’ characterized by a high level of species diversity. It has 13,000 endemic plant species, the second highest number in the world after the tropical Andes. In cork oak landscapes, plant diversity can reach a level of 135 species per square metre, and may of these species have aromatic, culinary or medicinal uses.

3) Naturally Sequesters Carbon

In comparison to the aluminium and plastic closures, the cork stopper is the best alternative in terms of non-renewable energy consumption, emission of greenhouse effect gases, contribution to atmospheric acidification, contribution to the formation of photochemical oxidants, contribution to the eutrophication of surface water and total production of solid waste. The capture of carbon by the cork oaks during the photosynthesis process results in plant growth and transforms atmospheric CO2 into O2 and, in the case of organic matter, into cellulose. For this reason the forest is considered to be an important carbon sink.

4) Biodegradable and Recyclable

Cork is a truly sustainable product – it is renewable and biodegradable. Cork harvesting is an environmentally friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down. The bark renews itself ready for the next harvesting. Unlike its synthetic counterparts, cork is an inherently sustainable resource, both renewable and biodegradable. The cork oak tree (Quercus suber) is unique in that its thick bark can be stripped off every decade to extract the cork without damaging the trees, which can live 170 to 250 years on average.

5) Preserves Local Livelihoods

Without the demand for cork, economic pressures could force farmers to abandon the active management of cork forests, which may lead to rural exodus as well as unbalance the ecosystems that preserve the biodiversity of these regions. The increase in the market share of alternative wine stoppers, specifically plastic stoppers and screw-tops, could reduce the economic value of cork lands, therefore leading to conversion to other uses, abandonment, degradation, and finally loss of one of the best and most valuable examples of a human-nature balanced system. Because the forests have an economic value to local communities, people care for the forests. Cork oak woodlands provide employment and guarantee the survival of local communities. More than 100,000 people in the seven Mediterranean cork-producing countries depend directly and indirectly on cork economies. Cork is a vital source of regional rural employment. Over 15 billion cork stoppers are produced every year and sold worldwide to the wine industry. These stoppers are processed from bark harvested from cork oak woodlands that have existed in the Western Mediterranean for thousands of years. Cork for bottle stoppers accounts for almost 70% of the total value of the cork market. The wine industry thus plays a vital role in maintaining the economic value of cork and the cork oak forests.


Source: 100% Cork –

If you are an ASI member Michelle Stiles is the contact to talk to at Americanna. If you are interested in their cork products to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing

Reusable Classic Party Tumbler

21 Jan
The Works exclusive reusable party tumbler inspires nostalgia for the weekend while proudly displaying your brand.

The Works exclusive reusable party tumbler inspires nostalgia for the weekend while proudly displaying your brand.

The plastic 16 oz. red tumbler is ubiquitous. Any tailgate party, any fraternity bash, any office sendoff, there they are, the red plastic cups, and after, there they go, right into the trashcan.

I guess The Works took that fact as a starting point to develop a reusable item that everyone already uses, The Works reusable 16 oz. Party Tumbler. This is a 16 oz.double wall insulated reusable BPA free acrylic tumbler that look just like the classic party cup.

The Works Party Tumbler also boasts the neat trick of a matted area on the base on which your party goers can write their name. The Works Party Tumbler comes with an easy to use thumb open lid, and works well for both hot or cold drinks.

The Party Tumbler has a large imprint area, with a possible full wrap of imprint size of 3″ W x 6.75″ Wrap.

From a marketing perspective what we have in The Works Party Tumbler is an instant souvenir of that tailgating party, that company pool part, that 25th anniversary football game between the big school rivals.

Available in red, blue, black, and yellow, this reusable 16 oz. party tumbler is likely to become as popular as its disposable relative.

If you are ASI contact  Customer Services at The Works to learn more. If you are interested in The Works reusable 16 oz. Party Tumbler for your marketing needs, contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

Gemline Now Carries Bobble

12 Nov

1 filter = 300 water bottles

From the Bobble website, “The mere fact of bottled water is itself a funny thing. Clean, serviceable tap water flows directly into the majority of the world’s homes in industrialized nations. While of varying quality, it is free and widely available. Yet this resource goes largely untapped”.

From this simple statement,  Bobble has moved forward since 2008 to built a worldwide retail brand that is recognized for both quality and style. Starting in their 2013 line, and ready right now for holiday orders, Gemline is now offering exclusively for our industry, branded BPA-FREE Bobble bottle reusable drinkware.

Available in eight colors, the Bobble 18.5 oz Filtered Water Bottle from Gemline offers a standard black or white ink only imprint on the band of 1.25in x 1in.

These are exactly the same bottles that are sold in their retail line except with the added vantage of your company’s message or logo. The Bobble replaceable carbon filter easily removes chlorine & organic contaminants from municipal tap water, with one filter good for 300 refills.

When thinking about reusable drinkware Bobble is a great name for marketing because it is a global brand with a strong sustainable reputation, and also the end-user can take your bottle with your brand message and simply replace the filter online or at any one of hundreds of retail establishments carrying the Bobble line. This ease of replacing the filter means the bottle will last longer in the hands of your target audience, which translates to your brand also lasting longer in the hands for your target audience.

So the end result is a long-lasting bottle, with the great sustainability reputation, that is constantly promoting your brand to your target audience. The Bobble bottle is a slam dunk for programs targeting schools, spas, fitness centers, or health care. And because of the retail brand appeal it is a great idea for programs promoting active life-styles in the 20-40 age bracket.

If you are ASI and wish to learn more about branding the Bobble line contact Andrea Catalano at Gemline. If you are interested in Bobble bottles to promote your own business, or as end of year gift idea, contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

100% Recycled 7-in-1 Jacket

13 Aug

Flame Red w/Light Grey

The 88142 MEN’S RECYCLED POLYESTER 7-IN-1 WIND JACKET WITH REVERSIBLE LINER from the Ash City e.c.o collection  is a 100% recycled content jacket that is 100% serious for cold weather (it has been over 100 degrees here in Dallas for the past week and I am dreaming of snow).

Look at the stats:

  • Outer Shell: 100% recycled polyester with water resistant finish. 2.9 oz./yd2/100 gsm. Full polyester taffeta lining.
  • Liner-woven side: 100% recycled polyester with water resistant finish.
  • Liner-reverse fleece side: 100% recycled polyester anti-pill brushed fleece. 4.3 oz./yd2/145 gsm.

Plus this is a jacket from Ash City, so regardless of materials used, you can expect all the extra perks, like flat reflective safety piping and reverse coil zippers on the jacket’s front and lower pockets.

The 88142 comes in four dramatic color choices, Captain’s Blue w/Light Grey, Flame Red w/Light Grey, Black w/Light Grey and Classic Navy w/Light Grey. The jacket also makes use of the Ash City Ezaway System® making for an easy conversion from jacket to vest (sleeves zipper off of the jacket, and 100% recycled material fleece lining is removable as fleece jacket).

The Ash City 88142 is a great option for staff jackets for any organization that has a commitment to sustainability, especially hotels and resorts that wanting to make a physical, visual, statements in their staff apparel that reflects their larger sustainable commitment.

Ash City does both screen printing and embroidery in-house, which means they know all the tricks to get the best look out of your artwork on their clothing. And since Ash City specializes in corporate apparel programs, adding the 88142 and other items of the e.c.o. collection into your existing apparel program is a snap. (Perhaps a recycled content performance polo makes more sense for the current heat).

For more information on the complete Ash City e.c.o. collection contact Chris Clark at Ash City USA. If you are looking to purchase Ash City e.c.o items for your own business contact your local promotional items distributor or email for samples and pricing.

Folding Water Bottles at ASI Dallas

18 Feb

HydroPouch!™ 24 oz. Soccer Ball Collapsible Water Bottle – Patent Pending

Folding water bottles were everywhere at ASI Dallas this year. Bullet had them. Jetline had them (some shaped like sport balls).  Numo had them. Maybe another two or three folks.

Why? Because they are a good idea. It is much easier to pack a foldable BPA-free bottle into a purse, glove compartment, or backpack than a solid water bottle. And when needed these empty bottles can much more easily – and for less cost – be mailed.

Yes, these are not going to hold up to the same punishment as a h2go-v volt style stainless steel bottle, but so what, the stainless steel bottle is 3x the cost and targeted at a different audience.

Where would I suggest using the new folding bottles? Airports. Anything to do with marketing to folks getting on planes. This is a super lightweight item they can place in their carry on. Once they are through security, fill the bottle up at the nearest water fountain and board the flight. Simple.

Frequent travelers would hold on to these forever, all the while getting your brand into that business networking club that is the first class cabin. (Yes I can see these in first class, water is water people, and those tiny little glasses up there just do not cut it on a 16hr business trip to Asia from the US).

Where else? School and clubs. Same idea, sort of. Play up the easy to store idea. Use them for a long trip, when you are done fold up and toss in child’s backpack. Simple.

Going the other direction we actually pitched these to a Dallas bar know for a signature Margarita. The idea was to serve the Margarita in a freezer-safe, custom shaped HydroPouch from Jetline, which would be great out on the bar’s porch in the Dallas Spring and Summer. Be creative.

Here I am at ASI with the Bullet Hermosa Water Bag With Carabiner.


I would say expect more pouch bottle designs as 2012 continues. So pick your bottle. Pick your ASI contact,  Kim Gasparini at Numo Manufacturing, Alex Skorupsky at Jetline, Mary Beach at Leeds, or contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

BIC® Ecolutions® Gets Better

23 May

BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic®

When I first wrote about the BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic®, the pre-consumer recycled plastic version of the ubiquitous  BIC®  Round Stic®, the recycled content clocked in at 67%.

The new 2011 flyer from BIC® that the office just received has that count up to 74%. So that is better, good job BIC®, where can you go from here? I know, make the pen part of your Buy One Get One Free second quarter promotion. Oh wait, you already have. Brilliant.

Like many other companies in our industry BIC® is taking some of the designs that have made them famous and offering those items from more sustainable materials. Look at the BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic® in terms of a very easy win to making a small change to a more sustainable collateral materials mix.

Simply put. It is a BIC® Round Stic®. You already know it. Heck you likely have one sitting around the office. These things are everywhere and the public trusts them. That is huge. This is not just another recycled content pen, it is a recycled BIC® and for conservative industries that buy a huge amount of writing instruments, like banks, mortgage lenders, realtors, schools and colleges, being able to offer a known brand that is eco friendly, helps a lot in making the pitch to move to eco friendly collateral.

BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic® comes in a white barrel with black, forest green, navy, and red trims. Ink colors offered are black and blue in a medium point with the BIC® Easy-Glide System® Fine Point available at an additional cost. Again, it is the same Round Stic® you have known for years, except, you know… different.

So save some money, save some plastic bottles from the landfill, and go buy a handfull of BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic® pens. With the Buy One Get One Free deal now running you really don’t have anything to lose in finally trying out a recycled pen for the bank’s lobby. And your customers will likely appreciate the change.


If you are looking for more information on BIC® sustainable products options send a quick email to Pam Cote at BIC®. If you are interested in the BIC® Ecolutions® Round Stic® to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

Video: Total Branding Solution

3 Nov

Trying to knock it out the park the holiday season with a reusable drinkware promotion? Go total branding with express line. Drinkware, packaging, insert, one design ties it all together.


If you are an ASI distributor Nicki Russo is the contact to talk to at express line about their total branding solutions as seen in this video. If you are interested in the Total Branding Solution for your business, event, or holiday giving, contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

AnvilSustainable™ Hooded Fleece

6 Oct

AnvilSustainable™ Long Sleeve Full-Zip Hooded Fleece

Anvil is a clear leader in eco-friendly tees supporting the promotional apparel industry. Their AnvilRecycled®, AnvilOrganic® , and AnvilSustainable™ are workhorse tee shirts for eco-friendly branding and events, and if you are wearing an eco tee right now, there is a very good chance it came from Anvil. With the cold weather setting in I wanted to point out that Anvil is running more than adult and youth tees in their ECO line. Anvil also has a full set of hoodies available for embroidery or screen-printing.

In particular I wanted to talk about Anvil’s new AnvilSustainable™ Long Sleeve Full-Zip Hooded Fleece and AnvilSustainable™ Long Sleeve Hooded Fleece.

Like other items in the AnvilSustainable line these hoodies are a mix of materials, running 8.0 oz. 55% certified organic cotton blended with 45% post consumer P.E.T. recycled polyester. Basically this is a blend cotton poly hoodie using organic cotton and non-virgin polyester.

The hoodies might feel a little softer than your normal pullover because the quality is rather superior to standard blends, but other than that they take an impression or embroidery just as well as any other 8oz cotton/poly blend.

The AnvilSustainable™ Long Sleeve Full-Zip Hooded Fleece and AnvilSustainable™ Long Sleeve Hooded Fleece come in the standard nine colors of  White, Black, Charcoal, Chocolate, City Green, Heather Grey, Natural, Navy and Red. Available sizes run S-3XL and may vary by color.

AnvilSustainable™ Long Sleeve Hooded Fleece

Hoodies are a great marketing platform as they are nearly as ubiquitous an article of fall and winter clothing as the tee shirt is to spring and summer. They are also ageless, working with the youth and young adult market, colleges, and professional groups. Everyone has a favorite hoodie, and if you are lucky enough that the hoodie is branded with your company’s or organization’s brand, then you have a walking billboard for life.

If you’re in the business these hoodies are available from most of the usual suspects, SANMAR, BRODERS, BODEK & RHODES (talk to Marc Seiler).

If you need help with figuring out the best fits and styles for your clients, pricing, or running full jobs with custom embroidery and screen-printing, then you will need to talk to your local promotional apparel vendor or email for more information.

Bundle up everyone, it is getting cold out there.

Visstun: Poster Child For Truth In Advertising

28 Aug

Visstun has the tag line Visually Stunning Custom Cups. That statement could win an award for truth in marketing. Wow.

One of our staff recently visited the Visstun factory and as a follow up Visstun sent our office a samples kit of their plastic cups. Their stuff just blew me away.

Why? Because the Visstun Reusable Clear Plastic Cup is a light weight beverage cup that is top-shelf dishwasher safe, reusable, recyclable, and 100% custom printable. The cups start clear which allows for opaque, translucent and clear art elements to blend on a single unit, giving a nearly 3D impact to artwork.

Visstun calls this printing method Hi-Definition, full-color print. The idea they like to promote for this method is that the visual flexibility of these items allows a client to “Showcase Your Brand, Not Just Your Logo™”. The samples look amazing.

With sports stadiums getting ready for football and marketers getting ready for the fall festival season, these cups are a great way for high-caliber branding of a reusable, recyclable (#5 plastic) commemorative cup at very affordable prices.

Think about the power of this printing process, sticking with football as an example, not only could cups hold a logo, and contact information, but full color, nearly 3D images of players and stadium as well. Fall music festivals could run full color artist images. Auto dealers hi-def product shots of the 2011 line. Parks could print full topographic artwork blended with vista views. If your art department can envision it,Visstun can likely print it.

Cups come in 12oz, 16oz (tub), 17oz, 20oz, 22oz, 32oz and 44oz sizes. Lids are available but not printable. Runs start at 2500 and catalog pricing runs to 100,000 units. Ask for samples.

If you are an ASI distributor looking for knock out cups talk to Joe Davis at Visstun. If you are interested in Hi-def Visstun Reusable Clear Plastic Cups to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email for information and pricing.

Made In USA RPET- Recycled Cotton Blend T-Shirt

25 Aug

This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Simonetta Freelance, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy (see John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.


Oh happy day. I cannot tell you how many clients and fellow Ecopreneurists have in the past gotten very excited about recycled material shirts just to have that excitement evaporate when they are told the shirts are produced overseas.

Well, I am very happy to announce the “discovery” of Concept Eco, which has been cutting, sewing, printing,and embroidering environmentally friendly products for over 16 years in West Palm Beach, FL. And it is Concept Eco who is offering this 50% Polyester from Post-Consumer Recycled Clear Plastic Bottles (PC RPET) & 50% Waste Cotton Tee.

The shirts come in natural and white in youth sizes small through large, and adult sizes small through 3XL. The shirts are a very high quality athletic cut, 1 x 1 rib crew neck, with double needle cover stitched sleeves and bottom hem, taped shoulder to shoulder.

All of which means it looks and feels like a t-shirt, same as any other high quality 50% poly & 50% cotton blend shirt. But this shirt was once a water bottle.

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