Building Exhibition stands with a green mindset is hard. Or is it?
A famous green frog once sang ‘it’s not easy being green’. That sentence rings true not only for Kermit the Frog, but also for businesses who have no idea of their impact on the environment. Or perhaps have any idea where to start to make a difference.
Did you know that for every tonne of waste that is produced at an exhibition, 70% is made from materials which cannot be reused or recycled? That is a scary reality and one that became evident to me on one of the first very large exhibition stands I build Something that really hit home hard.
It was 400sqm in size and was a simplistic design. It was designed with architectural elements that introduced some spectacular finishes and materials. It was good enough to be a permanent showroom for this client’s products. But alas this exhibition was running for two days only.
Once the exhibition closed, it was time for the team to move in, dismantle the stand and wait for it….
Dispose of the materials used as the client didn’t want the stand to be used again. Hang on, what? Dispose of the exhibition stand? Landfill these perfectly good materials that had only been used for two days? I struggled to understand this concept.
With a background in the architectural and design industry where sustainability and environmentally rated products are encouraged and the norm, I was baffled by this complete and utter waste of perfectly good materials.
As an example from this stand – there was over $6000 worth of brand new broadloom carpet. It had only been layed for two days, and was headed for the scrap heap! Crazy right? I couldn’t bear to see it go to waste and quickly started investigating how this carpet could either be reused or even donated to a charity in need.
A call out on social media with a picture of the carpet quickly garnered interest and before long there was a charity involved in the safe haven of animals. They were desperately in need of new carpet after suffering a fire at their premises. Perfect!
Hurdle – the logistics of getting the donated carpet to this group. It was such a mission as the carpet had to be sent back to the warehouse and was unable to be collected after business hours. It was also difficult for the volunteers to collect it during business hours as they worked! Catch 22!
To cut the story short, we ended up getting the carpet to them and they were so very thankful. Both the charity won and so did the environment as the carpet did not end up as landfill.
Carpet now safely with the charity and getting ready to be put to good use.
Moving forward I have a vested interest in this topic. So many possibilities from sustainable stand design, to using recyclable materials to donating usable products and materials that were destined for the scrap heap. I know this charity was so very thankful for the carpet.
EBYD is only small company, but I believe no matter the size of the company, anyone can make a contribution to their environmental footprint when involved in exhibitions. I know there are some companies in the exhibition world that are making an effort – but there is plenty of room for improvement on this topic by everyone. Firstly starting with the design of exhibition stands, a question that should be discussed as part of the design process with all clients.
We are signed up to www.greenfleet.com.au where we offset our vehicle carbon emission’s and for every project we complete, we plant a tree through the Greenfleet program.
How are you working to reduce your environmental footprint in your business?
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!