AAA Innovations said the transition is already underway, as more than half of the umbrellas it sells will be made from rPET by January 2023.
Some time back, promo supplier AAA Innovations (asi/30023) launched a line of umbrellas made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET, created by recycling plastic bottles). End-clients loved that the items were produced from recycled materials, but the GreenBrellas, as they were called, were not great sellers because they cost more than what the company described as “non-eco-friendly options.”
With environmental concerns close to his heart, CEO Jeffrey Nanus was determined to find a solution. His aim: Sell products made from environmentally friendly materials at the same price points as so-called traditional products.
It took some doing, but Nanus and his team at AAA Innovations have found a way. The Norwood, NJ-based supplier announced that it’s in the process of transitioning its entire product line so that every item is made from eco-friendly materials. And, the firm is doing so without raising prices.
“I want AAA Innovations to have a real impact on the environment and to help change the perception of our industry,” Nanus told ASI Media. “Moreover, while every company in our industry has put forth some statement regarding their sustainability commitments, virtually no one has made that full commitment with their products. How can companies offer competing products with most made from non-sustainable materials at lower prices than their eco-friendly offerings and expect to effect real change? So, our goal is to go all in. Change everything – except the price.”
By January 2023, more than half of the company’s umbrellas will be made from rPET polyester. The supplier’s Sasquatch roto-molded coolers and Satchels New York bag collection will follow suit – being produced from ocean-bound plastics (OBP) and recycled cotton/nylon, respectively.
As discussed in this article, promo leaders have said that making higher-quality, more eco-conscious products can help elevate the industry’s reputation and drive sales.
“In an effort to ensure that end-users understand that these promotional products are eco-friendly, AAA Innovations has designed special labeling and hang tags that will be featured on each product,” the supplier noted.
The firm had aspired to “go greener” for a while, and in March 2022 it made the decision to revamp its product portfolio to be made 100% from eco-friendly materials. Nanus shared insight into the back-end work that’s making the transition feasible.
“We first negotiated with the mills for large purchases of certified rPET and started with umbrellas,” he explained. “We now have rPET fabric for umbrellas, bags, chairs and tents. As our formerly ‘normal’ inventory sells out, we have been replacing these items using rPET.”
Nanus further noted that AAA Innovations has eliminated excess packaging and now ships all its umbrellas in recycled Kraft paper gift sleeves.
“Every supplier should be thinking this way – with the environment in mind,” Nanus said. “It is possible to hold prices and provide greener products. As everyone makes this transition, our industry on the whole will be seen in a different light.”