Trade Show Exhibitors Go Green

It’s Easy to go Green as a Trade Show Exhibitor or Professional Speaker


Guest Blog!

Trade Show Exhibitors and Pro Speakers go GreenAre you a trade show exhibitor?

Do you give professional speeches in locations distant from your home?

Reduce, reuse, recycle. How to make trade shows and speaking engagements greener.

Trade shows are a great way for businesses to get out there and show off their product ranges to a very targeted selection of potential customers. It makes sense that businesses would want to continue attending trade shows, though it must be acknowledged that they are, in their current form, very wasteful.

The tips suggested herein, based around the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ idea, offer ideas on how trade show exhibitors and professional speakers can continue to exhibit and speak, but in a greener fashion.

Reduce: Fuel

Transport to and from the exhibition or conference can involve large amounts of fuel use. Companies and customers will travel internationally to attend exhibitions and conferences if they are interested in the products and speakers there.

One way to reduce the fuel is to carry less weight during transport.

  • Use lightweight exhibition stands
  • Source exhibition materials from companies near the venue.

There’s no sense transporting 30,000 flyers in the back of a van when they could be printed locally to the venue!

  • Use online resources instead of traditional paper brochures.
  • Make use of QR codes and email list sign-up sheets to reduce the amount of paper used by your stand or presentation.

Reduce: Carbon footprint

Another way to embrace the technological advance is to participate in online-only expos, such as Green Expo. The goal of such expos is to prevent companies and customers from having to travel at all; all networking and interaction takes place via the internet. The carbon footprint of such events is therefore much lower.

For professional speakers, a webinar or on-line conference, while lacking slightly in the impact of face-to-face presentations, offer advantages in terms of cost to attendees, time zone differences and travel.

Reuse: Resources

For the trade show exhibitor and professional speaker, certain types of exhibition stand allow for the graphics to simply slide out and be replaced after use, rather than demanding replacement of the whole unit.

This is both cheaper and less environmentally damaging than buying a whole new exhibition stand set-up each year. Planning ahead and buying such perennial equipment may cost more in the short term, but the savings, both financially and ecologically, are considerable.

Reuse: Freebies

Giving away freebies at exhibitions and conferences is required, but throwing leftovers away is not.

If you’re left with freebies from last year’s exhibition, why not give them away at this year’s? It’s unlikely that attendees will notice, and even if they do, people taking freebies can’t be fussy!

Recycle: Resources

If you do decide not to buy long-lasting display equipment, ensure you recycle old displays instead of sending them to landfill.

Sometimes the stand manufacturers themselves will recycle old stands, as it’s in their interest that their products are kept out of landfill.

Other things from your stand can be recycled too, including water bottles, leftover literature, and probably most of the stuff in your trash.

Recycle: Freebies

If you’re looking for an innovative freebie, why not choose a recycled product?

Pens and most other stationery are available in recycled form, and these make quirky gifts for the people visiting your stand.

This has the combined result of giving visitors something to remember your company by, and hopefully igniting in them the intention to recycle.

It can be done!

As you can see, there are many relatively effortless ways for the trade show exhibitor and professional speaker to go greener.

All it takes is to put thought into the reusability of the products you use, and the decision to recycle anything that must be disposed of.

Hopefully in the coming years, as we see online technology and communication platforms improving, trade show exhibitors will make the move into cyberspace, erasing their carbon footprint entirely.  But let’s take it one step at a time for now.


Chris L is a music student and online researcher, who has a great interest in protecting the environment. This article was written on behalf of Nimlok: providers of modular exhibition stands.

Photo Credit:  Microsoft / Corbis

18 comments… add one

Your thoughts and opinions are important to me! Do tell me in the comments below!

  • Jc MacKenzie 25th April 2012, 5:34 AM

    A recycled freebie..what a great idea. I like the possibilities.
    Be Well.

  • Sonya Lenzo 24th April 2012, 5:08 PM

    I used to do a lot of trade shows and have to admit that there was tremendous waste involved. Glad to see your suggestions.
    Sonya Lenzo

  • Chris 24th April 2012, 4:16 PM

    Hi guys,

    Glad you found the content and insights therein useful! Awareness and action are the two key factors in reducing future damage to the environment, so spread the word 🙂

    Chris @ Nimlok

  • Annie @ Care for the Caregiver 24th April 2012, 12:25 PM

    You just make it so easy to make happen!
    You are awesome!
    Looking forward to tomorrow!

  • Dan 24th April 2012, 9:21 AM

    Good awareness article – the amount of waste that is left at a venue after a trade show is disgusting!

  • Cherie Miranda 24th April 2012, 8:11 AM

    I will be participating in a trade show this weekend and will definitely take your tips into account. Thanks!

    Cherie Miranda

    • Clare Delaney 24th April 2012, 12:54 PM

      I hope the trade show is a great success for you!

  • Happy New You 24th April 2012, 7:26 AM

    I know I have left overs from fairs. I learned to never put the name of the fair on the fliers that way I could use them again.

    Yours In Health!

    Dr. Wendy

    • Clare Delaney 24th April 2012, 12:54 PM

      That’s a great suggestion, thanks Dr. Wendy!

  • The 7 Steps To Amazing Health 24th April 2012, 7:05 AM

    I love the idea of using QR codes to help make trade shows a little greener.

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II

  • Lyle R. Johnson: The Sales Wizard & Mentor 24th April 2012, 3:19 AM

    Great advice. I got tired of second-guessing actual attendance and having excess printed materials. I now use CD-R … so I can record over excess CDs.


    • Clare Delaney 24th April 2012, 7:06 AM

      Great idea Lyle, thanks for that!

  • Sabrina 24th April 2012, 1:16 AM

    I’ve never heard of the Green Expo. What a cool idea. Also, not transporting flyers but printing them locally is a great idea.

    Sabrina Peterson, NASM CPT, CES

  • Margarita @ Body Language Decoding 23rd April 2012, 9:38 PM

    Every year we participate in the Volusia County Fair. My daughter is an exibitor. I will definately use your recommendations. thank you.

    • Clare Delaney 24th April 2012, 7:05 AM

      County Fairs are such fun! Great, thanks Margarita, I know you’ll make a difference!

  • Shane Aric 23rd April 2012, 8:58 PM

    Great info… And IT CAN BE DONE!

  • Peter Tamosaitis 23rd April 2012, 8:12 PM

    Clare, excellent article full of good advice. I will pass all of this to everyone I know to whome it is relevant.

    Kindest regards
    Peter Tamosaitis

  • 23rd April 2012, 3:28 PM

    That was a really good article about Exhibition stands. Thanks and keep posting. Love, Marina :*