What’s in a name, name tag that is?

This month I attended a group meeting. I arrived early as I always do (I hate late minute parking in Austin and I cannot parallel park!) When I saw there were disposable name tags to fill out, I pulled out my reusable name tag and clipped it on. New attendees to this monthly meeting asked what I did that I had such a special name tag! There may have even been thoughts I might be a leader (I was wearing my group shirt and helping with setup). It was a great opportunity to talk about zero waste and reuse, both with the group leaders and many of the attendees. So I thought I would share this idea that I’m actually pretty proud of. Personally I’ve always confused why more groups and businesses don’t do this.

Maybe you attend a lot of classes, meetings, church events, etc. I used to be in so many classes and meetings at my last job that I made typed, Bold, reusable name cards for a sturdy name tag holder that I keep in my purse for all my meetings and events. It clips or safety pins for all clothing types. If I had more delicate clothes like dresses or sweaters, I’d add magnets so I wouldn’t tear or crimp the fabric. Depending on the situation, I’ll flip it to first name only or with last name. At my last position, due to the nature of the job, I also included a name card with my first and last name, and my department name.

I don’t know about you but almost every meeting or get-together I attend there are name badges or tags. They’re disposable, loose or on sheets, with markers if you’re lucky or pens if you aren’t (I can be standing on top of someone and can’t read a ballpoint name tag). Don’t get me started on the stronger flexible name badges (I’m not sure they’re paper, they feel like vinyl)! This idea here is the perfect and cheaper way to address crumbled paper name tags that fall off or end up on the shirt under the jacket at the event. Most name tags usually end up in the trash, not a recycling bin. Have you ever seen a recycling collection bin or cup near the name tags for the papers, or anyone accepting them for recycling at the end of an event? Me neither. The markers to write with are sometimes all the colors (can anyone read yellow?! and what about color blind individuals?) and usually it’s a fine tip, so if you’re like me, you have a hard time reading the name tag across a conference table or in passing (see my table example below). I keep my name tag in my purse or portfolio and use it all the time. It’s so much easier to read, a great conversation piece about Zero Waste, and honestly I think the presentation makes a memorable impression on people! I’ve used this at work, church, meditation retreats, information sessions, group meetings, neighborhood events, all to great success.

If you don’t have a reusable name tag holder, can’t find a stash in the office supplies or an empty desk at work, ask your friends or neighbors, or check with Austin Creative Reuse.

Which name tag can you read easier?