In light of recent allegations that the trade show industry produces more waste than any other industry except construction, efforts toward a more sustainable ethic within the industry should be applauded. Attempts to reduce waste and carbon footprint must be made from all angles of the trade show business, from exhibition design to transportation to the energy-efficiency of trade show venues and beyond.
There are a number of ways to cut down on the waste and carbon footprint associated with exhibit set up and exhibiting itself. One of the biggest ways to do this is to source materials for the exhibit locally instead of paying to ship heavy and large exhibit modules across country. The transportation is often costly and associated with a very large carbon footprint. Sourcing things locally and re-using when possible can significantly reduce this footprint.
As for re-using, more modular designs can allow for easier re-use. Blazer Exhibits also offers rental displays which offer a lower carbon footprint while still providing impressive quality and adaptability. To have the greatest effect, efforts towards greater sustainability and less waste should be applied at all levels of exhibiting from building to exhibit set up, to transportation, operation and tear down.
The biggest steps to reducing carbon footprint and waste come from the three ‘R’s: reduce, re-use and recycle–which should be prioritized in that order. If you can reduce the materials that are required (and that need to be transported long distances you can reduce waste higher up in the cycle. The next step is to re-use materials as much as possible, which can be done through the employment of rental equipment or modular designs that allow re-use from a previous exhibit design.
Recycling is actually the least impactful of the three, but the most recognizable. Companies should make an effort to produce paper materials, brochures and the like that can be recycled (as much as we’d all like to think that none of our materials will ever get tossed, this is probably wishful thinking). The rest of the onus is on venues to make recycling facilities available and prominent so that they are used by attendees.
Other innovative exhibit design ideas can provide new and interesting ways to engage attendees at your next custom trade show displays. You could consider giving away materials digitally through wireless technologies like Bluetooth or the creative use of QR codes. The possibilities are endless.