5 Ways Show Organizers Can Go Green at Their Next Event

September 12, 2017

Shane Shirley

Shane Shirley is CMO for SBS Brands, a 90-year-old global brand leader focused on creating digital and print business solutions that offers traditional and eco-friendly customized promotional products to accelerate trade show marketing.

Since 2008, there has been a statistic making its way around the Internet that the EPA ranked the trade show industry as the second most wasteful industry - second only to manufacturing. You may have heard this statistic before. I have even used that information in an article I wrote for TSNN. Recently, I decided to look deeper into that stat that gives a bad rap to our industry. What I discovered was that even on the EPA website, I can find no reference to this statistic. Furthermore, many of the articles that referenced the statistic have been removed from the web.

Still, we all know that waste is one of the things we want and need to reduce at meetings, trade shows and events. From reducing plastic and energy use to promoting sustainability, our industry is one that can and should make less of an impact on planet Earth. Here’s how.

1. Choose a Green Venue

The venue itself is a major factor in determining how green your event can be. Construction and waste management processes all contribute to how green a facility can be. Green venues are certified, so it is easy to identify which spaces are eco-friendly. Look for venues with International Green Meeting Certification, like the Cobo Center in Michigan. This certification is awarded by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) which is a non-profit, membership-based professional organization led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

2. Hand Out Reusable Trade Show Bags

Takeaways are a staple of trade shows and industry events. Reusable takeaways made from recycled or sustainable materials give an event and brand the benefit of a takeaway that will market the brand at the event, as well as long after the event is over. Eco-friendly trade show bags can be customized to increase a brand’s awareness and recognition, while also staying true to a brand’s green objectives and delivering a great ROI.

3. Offer Eco-Friendly USB Drives

Flash drives are a popular item at trade shows for good reason. They offer a lot of value for both attendees and marketers, and are useful promotional items that attendees love and seek out. Eco-friendly flash drives that feature cases made from bamboo, recycled plastic and even cork, promote sustainability, reduce waste and plastic.

4. Recycle

This is possibly the easiest way to make an event green. It is not feasible to eliminate all waste from an event. However, it is possible to switch to materials that can be recycled and make sure all trash is responsibly handled. Place clearly labeled recycling bins throughout the space during the event. These recycling bins can also be sold as sponsorships. To better streamline waste management, make sure there is an option to recycle larger materials leftover after the exhibitors pack up.

5. Use Eco-Friendly Materials

Green up your displays by choosing eco-friendly retractable banners and working with companies like Eco-Systems Sustainable Displays. It is important to create a display that is eye-catching, but it is easier than ever before to create a display that is visually stunning and eco-friendly.

Integrating any of these changes into your event planning can have a positive impact. Going all in and including all of these changes can seriously change things for the better. What do you do to make your events green?

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