Greener Business Card Alternatives
How many business cards did you hand out--or receive--last year? Depending on how much of a networker you are, many hundreds of small pieces of cardstock could have been either carefully filed away or recycled. Is there a way to give a green update to the tradition of leaving a calling card?
The most obvious solution, and the one we use at New Dream, is to use 100% recycled cardstock with eco-friendly inks. While the cards are a little more expensive than those printed on virgin paper, there is no sacrifice in quality or color options. Going with smaller cards is a way to cut down on cost and paper.
A number of companies are trying to encourage people to forgo the physical card altogether...by buying their electronic business card gizmo. You'd really have to use this frequently to make another electronic gadget pay off over the more ephemeral paper, but these options have the advantage of storing digital information that can be easily added to electronic address books. One such device is the Mingle Stick, which hangs on your keychain and transmits contact information to other users when touched, and then uploads the information to your computer. The catch is that others have to have adopted the same device, so it works best at large trade shows.
Another avenue for sharing electronic information without having to buy another gadget is to use your mobile phone. There are a number of services that will allow you to text a virtual business card to someone. For a one-time fee, IMcards will create a digital IM card. Contxts is another service that uses SMS technology.
The greenest option is often to reuse. Scratch off old cards you have lying around and write your own information on them, or buy pre-scratched cards.
Printing your own business cards on recycled cardstock (including lightweight boxes) is another way to reuse, or you can buy recycled business card stock to use for printing cards.
For a truly "green" business card/gimmick, try handing out one that sprouts. A direct marketing campaign for Tur & Partner, an architectural firm, used cards that grow plants when exposed to sun and water. See another example here.