Why Going Green Matters at Your Next Tradeshow

March 6, 2014

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.

Tradeshows generate a ton of waste each year with an incredible 600,000 tons of trash turned out every year by the 60 million people who attend tradeshows. This is a staggering amount that has a huge environmental impact, and we are all looking for ways to lessen this impact.

Utilizing green practices can help us wrangle the trash situation under control and make tradeshows a greener experience.

While it is impossible to completely eliminate all waste, it is totally within our reach to drastically reduce the amount of trash generated by tradeshows by taking note of the following tips.

Encourage Exhibitors to Go Reusable Every Chance Possible

Urge the folks attending your show to look for ways to replace single-use items with durable options that can be used again and again. Canvas makes a great alternative to one-and-done wall coverings since exhibitors can get several years out of it and it fits the green bill since it’s made from sustainable plant fibers. Canvas can even be painted to keep it looking fresh and switch things up after a while.

Advise and make it easy for your exhibitors to opt for customized reusable takeaways like reusable bags, stainless-steel water bottles and pens made from recycled content. Reusable items will be used by attendees long after the convention is over instead of tossing them in the trash as they exit the convention hall. Just switching to durable booth materials and reusable takeaways will reduce a lot of the trash cranked out by your event.

Use Digital Versions Instead of Handouts to Green Things Up

Offer to post digital versions of your exhibitor’s catalogs on your website. Attendees can be directed to the site to view the digital collection, so they can flip through catalogs ahead of time if they’d like or after the show is over and your exhibitors can print fewer catalogs so less paper is used. Encourage exhibitors to use interactive displays or take orders via tablets or smartphones. Going digital reduces paper consumption, allows you to feature more of your line than would fit in your booth and engages your customers.

Make It Easy for Those in Attendance to Recycle

In addition to efforts to minimize waste, make it easy to handle garbage and have your exhibitors and attendees sort the trash for you - throughout the convention center place bins to collect paper, cans and bottles and waste. Make sure the bins are color-coded and clearly labeled, so people know where to deposit items. Most folks are very receptive to dropping their items in the proper bin and this improved management of the waste stream will ensure items are disposed of properly. Many venues will work with you to make it easy for attendees to recycle.

Recruit Help to Make Your Tradeshow Green

By reducing the amount of trash generated and improving how waste is sorted and handled you can significantly lessen the environmental impact of your tradeshow. The key to going green and reducing waste at your next event is to enlist the help of your exhibitors and attendees. Ask your exhibitors to do their part to reduce the trash they produce and make it easy to responsibly manage waste with labeled bins. These small steps will have a big impact on the amount of waste produced and ultimately will make your tradeshow a more eco-friendly experience.

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