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