With the devastating effects non-biodegradable products have on the planet, we want to look at ways to stay green when exhibiting. Going green at work can be straight forward, don’t print documents unless necessary, use public transport to reduce carbon footprint, and use re-usable bottles rather than plastic, these are just a few things we think about. However, going green, being eco-friendly and watching your carbon footprint when planning an exhibition can be a bit harder. Don’t worry, doesn’t have to mean it will cost more, it could save you money.
Embrace digital, go paperless
Historically when preparing for exhibitions, exhibitors resort to printing hundreds of marketing flyers, feedback forms and order forms. The majority of this is destined for the bin at some point, wasting paper and ink. With many free online file sharing platforms and survey hosting websites available, it is easy to embrace the digital world, and reduce your waste at an exhibition. By hosting your content online, it will be easily accessible during the show, meaning you can update the material without having to re-print anything.
Instead of handing out a brochure to every visitor, invite them to scan a QR code that links to an online PDF, or use a tablet for them to fill out their email address. Alternatively, if you have the option to purchase a data scanning app, many allow you to pre-load questions or add notes, so you can make a note of the material requested and send it out post-show electronically.
If you do need to print anything, make sure to use recycled paper or paper from sustainable forests.
Keep it local
Whether it is for your stand build, temporary staff, products or materials, try using local businesses, not only will you be contributing to the country’s economy, you will be reducing carbon emissions and costs from transportation.
Environmentally friendly freebies
Everyone loves a freebie; however, the market is saturated with branded plastic objects and USB sticks. Try finding something which is environmentally friendly, there are many companies creating recycled products, such as, recycled wood USB sticks or you could brand something biodegradable like apples instead.
Work with your suppliers
Whether it’s catering, furniture or your stand builder, working with your suppliers can help when it comes to being greener. Ask your suppliers if they have a recycling policy, if they use eco-friendly materials, and what measures have they taken to reduce their CO2 footprint.
When it comes to designing and building your stand, ask your contractor to work with you to consider the materials used and the logistics of building and moving the stand. Make sure you have the eco-friendliest stand possible.
Plan your design with the future in mind
Are you planning on exhibiting at many shows over the next few years? Do you usually re-design your stand every year for a new fresh look? Why not build your stand with modular components, you can move sections about, and fit them together in a number of ways, changing your stand for each event without having to re-design or pay for a new stand. Not only will you reduce waste, the stands are easy and light to transport, fitting together to reduce space when transporting, which will save on fuel used.
Rent where possible
If you don’t plan on exhibiting at many shows, you should think about renting furniture or even your stand to reduce waste. Most exhibitions will have recommended furniture suppliers who you can order furniture from, and they will even deliver and collect the items from your stand. Hiring an exhibition stand will not only save you money, but it can also be recycled and re-used by another company, limiting waste. You don’t need to worry about it not matching your brand, as you will be able to easily add graphics to reflect your branding and message.
Carpet tiles are durable and easy to clean, which makes them a perfect eco-friendly flooring for exhibitions. Carpet can also be recycled, by separating the fibres and moulding them into other products. If carpet is not right for your stand, then choose flooring made from natural materials, which can be recycled after the exhibition.
Keep your lighting energy efficient
Replace standard lighting on your exhibition stand with energy efficient lighting. LED lights contain no toxic elements, use less power and are more efficient than traditional lighting. Energy efficient light bulbs also cost less to operate, last longer and they come in a range of colours which could help you stand out from the crowd.
Because of the nature of exhibitions with stands, carpet and features only being erected for a few days, they produce a lot of waste. The industry is far from being environmentally friendly, however if everyone is more conscious of the issue, we can at least work together to make sure we do better for the future.