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Go Green At Your Next Trade Show: Reduce

Going green can be tough. People often shy away from the process--they donít know where to start or what to do.

So in this three-part series, Iíll break down the green mantra-- reduce, reuse and recycle--and how each will benefit your next trade show.

At this point in time, most trade shows have incorporated some form going green into their floor plans and exhibits. But environmentally friendly tools are rapidly changing and evolving. There are new products, new ideas, and new processes that continue to be mainstreamed, so even if you have gone green, chances are itís time to re-examine your plan.

Businesses in the trade show industry can reap many rewards from going green. These rewards extend beyond environmental ones--financial and marketing rewards exist as well. For instance:

-Clients and customers appreciate when a business takes a go-green initiative and will tend to buy more from them than a company who has not taken such initiative.

-Going green helps small- and medium-size companies compete against bigger companies with larger marketing budgets.

-Though it may seem less cost efficient initially, going green has been shown to save businesses more money in the long run.

If youíve decided to hop aboard the eco-friendly bandwagon, here are five ways you can implement the ďreduceĒ category and grow one step closer to closing the loop:

1) Reduce the amount of printed materials used in an exhibit.

If you can, go digital, and use electronic displays. Often it is hard to go completely paperless at your exhibit, so trying working with a printer that uses water-based vegetable ink. Print on paper that has the highest percentage of recycled material. Rather than throwing away the paper used, recycle it!

2) Reduce the number of business representatives sent to a show.

Transportation and travel both use a lot of energy, not to mention money. Try reducing the number of representatives your business sends †to a show. If thatís not possibly, send a local or regional rep rather than someone from the home office.

3) Reduce the amount of energy used in lighting.

By using LED or fluorescent lights, youíll gain energy savings in the amount of energy used and in the life of your lights. Also, make sure you run lights and other equipment only during show hours.

4) Reduce pollution and health hazards.

Build exhibits with low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), varnishes, paints, adhesives and other finishes. Traditional carpet can be another source of harmful fumes. Instead of using these items, opt for more nontraditional materials such as bamboo, cork, sea grass or recycled rubber. Not only will incorporating these items into your exhibit reduce your pollution output, but it may differentiate your exhibit from others.

5) Reduce shipping.

Buy items locally, and if possible, store materials close to your show sites. Send graphics to local printers or ask your visitors to download your information in electronic form and print it only as needed. You will save in shipping fees while helping boost sales in local economies.

It may be easiest to start by picking one item on the list to focus on. Make that area of your trade show as green as possible, and then move onto the next project. By implementing one, some, or all of these five tips, your next exhibit will be on its way to becoming an environmental success. It can be as simple or intricate as you would like, but the most important thing is to get started.

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by Map Dynamics