The exhibition industry around the world is becoming as green as the loveable frog singing about being green. Overseas exhibit builders have been in the forefront of re-purposing trade show displays for many years. One reason is out of necessity because of high cost for warehousing. Rental exhibits are more common than owning exhibit properties because it is more cost effective. This also gives exhibitors more flexibility in designs to adapt to delivering their marketing message. Many European shows require exhibitors to arrange waste disposal during installation and dismantle based on what type of materials are being trashed. The concern for the waste impacting the environment is noticeable throughout Europe, even airport waste bins are divided between recyclable, waste and plastic. Several years ago some exhibits that were designed for one-time use were referred to as “build and burn” but this is no longer common practice. Special design elements may be re-purposed for multiple clients for standard items with a unique look such as reception desks or work stations.
Trade show designers worldwide have a wide range of new materials to utilize that are made from recycled materials to create unique selling environments. Exhibition organizers are introducing new registration procedures and badges to reduce paper consumption. Corporations around the world are incorporating sustainability policies in their mission statements and expect the same high standards from exhibit service partners. Marketing managers are partnering with exhibit builders to look for new ways to re-purpose exhibit components into new builds instead of trashing an entire exhibit to start from scratch. Raised flooring with laminate can be re-used for many more shows than standard roll carpet and padding.
Together let’s continue to monitor the EDPA (Exhibit Designers and Producers) Zero Waste Challenge and applaud this industry-wide initiative to think about all aspects of the trade show industry every day.