This weekend marks the 42nd annual celebration of Earth Day. And while the trade show industry has been a bit slow to get on the bandwagon, there are many shows that have made serious strides toward becoming more green.
One of the most impressive examples of a show going green is also one of the largest in the U.S. — the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The 2012 CES took a multi-faceted approach, collecting a record amount of materials to recycle and repurpose (totaling about 75 percent of the show’s materials). Those items included:
- More than 20,000 pounds of magnetic banners
- 28,600 square feet of vinyl banners
- 16,000 square feet of other show signs and materials
- Nearly 50,000 pounds of show publications
But you don’t have to be a major show producer to make a difference. One electrician at the Monterey Conference Center in California decided he’d seen enough pallets full of waste at one trade show after another. So Robert Morris started Pass It On Please, an organization that distributes the leftover items to schools and senior groups, as well as to the Persian Gulf and Mexico. He’s currently seeking non-profit status so he can afford to get a bigger storage space for the pens, notepads, t-shirts, hand sanitizers, and other items. For more information (and to read letters from some very grateful schools), visit the Pass It On Please website.
One of the biggest ways to make an impact (and simplest) is to reduce the amount of plastic bottles that end up in landfills. We all know that trade shows are an environment where lots of water is consumed, and with good reason. But there are a number of ways we can all work toward reducing the waste. Tom Bowman, AKA “Mr. Green,” shares some options in this column. And while you’re there, scan through the archives for more of his tips on making graphics more sustainable and putting together an RFP for a greener booth. Together we can all make a big difference!
With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. She travels the country consulting and training both exhibitors and show managers. She's the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, host of the Trade Show Insights blog-cast and creator of the ExhibitorEd Success System, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the Exhibit Marketers Café. To request an “Extra Shot of Exhibit Success” go to www.ExhibitMarketersCafe.com.