Trade shows generate an estimated 600,000 tons of waste.

Bloomington, IN – There are about 13,000 Tradeshows annually in the US. Exhibiting and attending these thousands of trade shows generates vast amounts of waste—an estimated 600,000 tons—plus transporting attendees and exhibitors requires tremendous amounts of fuel, electricity, and water.

We have a lot of work to do to make trade shows Greener and more sustainable, according Stephen Ashkin, the leading advocate for sustainability in the professional cleaning industry. “The good news is that it can be done, and a good place to start is with this year’s ISSA Show North America in Dallas.”

Ways Exhibitors Can Improve Sustainability

Rent Locally: Instead of delivering all exhibit items, see if some can be rented locally. This helps minimize transport needs, fuel consumption, and harmful emissions.

Select Lighter Materials: For items that must be transported, select lighter, but durable materials. Lighter materials require less fuel to transport, helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Spend More to Save More: View your booth as an investment to be used more than once. Select quality materials that are durable and long-lasting, so they can be used over and over again.

Reuse: Reuse as much of your exhibit as possible. Reusing is a cost savings that promotes sustainability.

Recycle: If reusing is not a viable option, recycle as much as possible. Many event venues now separate landfill trash from items that can be reused or repurposed, making this option easier.

Digitize: Instead of paper handouts, use monitors and videos to display marketing materials and technologies that allow information to be transferred to attendee smartphones. It’s high-tech with no waste.

Print Green: Many exhibitors still want something they can hand out to attendees. If so, print materials on recycled paper and environmentally responsible “Green” inks.

Ways Attendees Can Promote Sustainability

Heat and A/C: When the room is not being used, adjust the thermostat to a temperature that  is several degrees warmer or cooler than if the room were occupied.

Room Electronics: Take a second before leaving your hotel guest room to turn off all electronics. This will help save energy tremendously.

Refillable Water Bottles: Refillable water bottles are a trade show must. Not only is plastic waste reduced by refilling them, but because they are more insulated, they help keep the water cooler throughout the day.

Make Wise Meat Choices: Yes, Dallas is steak country. But keep in mind, raising cows requires ten times more resources than chicken, poultry, dairy, or pork; 28 times more land; six times more fertilizer; 11 times more water; and produces up to about five times more greenhouse gas emissions than chicken, dairy, and poultry. *

“The professional cleaning industry is a leader when it comes to protecting the environment and we are now beginning to play a leadership role when it comes to sustainability,” says Ashkin. “Let’s make this ISSA’s most sustainability-focused trade show ever.

* Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

About Stephen Ashkin and The Ashkin Group

Stephen P. Ashkin is president of The Ashkin Group, a consulting firm specializing in Greening the cleaning industry, and CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, which helps facilities monitor and measure their use of natural resources. He is known as the “father of Green Cleaning” and the professional cleaning industries leading advocate promoting sustainability. He is also coauthor of both The Business of Green Cleaning and Green Cleaning for Dummies

CBT iconCleaning Business Today is a publication of Tom Stewart and Derek Christian, who also partner in Castle Keepers House Cleaning, one of the fastest growing professional house cleaning services in the US.