Bag the Schwag

If the tech industry and its associated conferences have any serious notions about reducing our impact on the environment, one small step would be to minimize the amount of schwag distributed at tradeshows, most of which ends up in a landfill. Above, Violet Blue’s photograph from SXSW shows the pile of 5,000+ bags filled and waiting for attendees to arrive.

We distributed Make and Craft buttons in the bags, and they were popular. However, I find myself reconsidering even those marketing efforts because I know myself that while I got a schwag bag, all but the bag itself ended up in the trash can at my hotel before I left Austin.

My friend Pam Laird, and wife of OATV’s Mark Jacobsen wrote me as I was composing this entry:

Mark gave my badge to a friend so she could see some music after we left, and I lunged at him, when I thought he was going to give away my Make button also. I tend to think I’m irrational about what my friends are doing, but here I see I was not alone. From blogger Manifest Density:

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the best or at least most interesting swag came in the tote bag that every attendee received. For one thing, there was the pin from MAKE Magazine that I cherish but have already almost managed to destroy.

Proof that schwag works. Sadly for the environment.