Go Green #1: Eco-Friendly Merchandise Explained

Here at Silk Group, we are keen to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We stock a large range of eco-friendly promotional items on our Silk Promotions site, and we even have a dedicated promotions site to all things green – Go Green Promotions.

Keeping up with all of the environmental jargon is quite a task. We have put together a list of the common words you will hear, and what they actually mean, to help you understand what you’re buying.


There’s lots of eco-friendly materials out there at the moment, but which ones are best for the environment and for your business?


What is it? Bamboo is a one of the fastest growing plants on Earth, so is therefore a renewable natural product.

Positives: It’s renewable, and grows very quickly. If a product is 100% bamboo, it is biodegradable too.

Negatives: It often has to be mixed with other materials to make certain products, so therefore cannot be recycled afterwards.

RPET – Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate

What is it? Recycled plastic, most commonly recycled plastic bottles.

Positives: A hard wearing material made from recycled materials.

Negatives: If not disposed of correctly, it can impact wildlife.

Sugar Cane

What is it? Sugarcane, sugar cane, or just “cane”, are tall grasses used for sugar production. Sugarcane can be mixed with other materials to produce biodegradable products.

Positives: Natural, renewable, biodegradable.

Negatives: It needs to be mixed with other materials.


What is it? A vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. Most commonly made into jute bags.

Positives: Hardwearing, natural, and renewable material.

Negatives: If untreated, it can discolour in sunlight.

FSC Certified/Sourced

What is it? Products that are FSCĀ® Certified have met the environmental and social requirements of The Forest Stewardship Council. They ensure that all wood harvested for use is replaced to protect against deforestation. By choosing FSCĀ® products, it also makes sure that certain sections of forests and woodlands are left completely intact to protect wildlife. All products can be traced back to where they were sourced.

Positives: The product is guaranteed to have come from a sustainable source.

Negatives: Nothing!


When something is organic, it means no harmful chemicals have been used in the growing process, only natural fertilisers and pesticides. This means that the land is kept natural, and there is nothing left that could be harmful to wildlife.


Most eco-friendly products have been made in a sustainable way, and can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way after use, or reused. A lot of the words can be confusing, and so we have summarised them below.


Recyclable means that the product can be recycled after use. They are treated using special processes to turn them into a new product. The more we can recycle, the less ends up on landfill.


If something is biodegradable, it means it can break down naturally without harming the environment or using harsh chemicals. However, this doesn’t have a time scale!


If something is compostable, it has been certified to break down completely without harming the environment. A lot of products can even go in your home compost, but some need to be composted industrially which most local councils will do. Typically compostable products break down quicker than biodegradable ones, but in order to compost quickly they need the correct conditions.

We hope this cleared up some of the confusing eco language, and will help you with any future decisions for which eco-friendly merchandise is right for you.