HOW TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE EXHIBITION STANDS
Sustainability and the impact on the environment that we have are important topics in today’s world. Now, more than ever, consumers are concerned about generating waste for landfill, and recyclable materials are increasingly popular. A recent study by Forbes showed that 88% of consumers want companies to help them make a difference by being more environmentally friendly and ethical.
Exhibitions have traditionally generated a lot of waste – custom-built stands are often just discarded at the end of the show and built again from scratch at the next one. This is very wasteful so how can we improve the environmental impact of exhibiting and have a sustainable exhibition stand?
So what is a ‘sustainable product?’ “Sustainable products are those products that provide environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal” [Source: Wikipedia]. So it is vital to consider the product life-cycle. One of the simplest ways to reduce environmental damage is to ensure that, wherever possible, the products you use are reusable time and again – thus extending their life-cycle.
SUSTAINABLE EXHIBITION STANDS
Custom-built stands tend to be built from unsustainable materials – MDF or ply faced panelling, timber, steel, and acrylics, topped off with paint or stretched PVC covering. The construction methods mean that much of this cannot be re-used so is simply sent to landfill at the end of the event.
Of course, one solution to a sustainable exhibition stand could be using a material that can be recycled like cardboard. However, this doesn’t really produce a great looking stand and won’t last very long so by definition isn’t sustainable.
A far better solution is to have a reusable exhibition stand. Modular stands can be reused many times. Made from a lightweight aluminium system, stands can be dismantled at the end of an exhibition and thanks to its modular structure, be rebuilt quickly and easily at any time.
The aluminium frames are very durable so will last for many years, they are also easy to recycle. The whole thing can be quickly assembled by two or three people with no need for power tools. The ability to reuse it and remodel it for another show is an economic advantage too.
For sustainable graphic panels, printed fabric graphics that fit easily to a modular stand are the best solution. At the end of the show they can be rolled up and stored in a tube, ready for the next exhibition. Or they can be recycled.
Carpet tiles are a great option for sustainable flooring for your stand. Easily stored and reconfigured to use again they can also be recycled so probably represent the most environmentally friendly option.
OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Lighting: Sustainable lighting should be modern and efficient– older, less efficient lighting systems will use more of electricity than modern LEDs and will be more likely to blow.
Printed materials: For a sustainable solution to giving customers more information deliver it electronically. Have a QR code on your stand which will enable visitors to access your brochure. Or email it to them. If paperless is not an option, can you use recycled paper or FSC certified stock as an alternative?
Giveaways: No-one really wants another pen that will most likely end up in the bin. To make your giveaways more sustainable choose something that will be used time and time again. A couple of ideas could be branded bamboo coffee cups or organic cotton bags, there are many options available online, and you will come across much better by being sustainable.
Transport: Can you hire a minibus to transport staff to the exhibition? or at least share cars or use public transport. Purchase a stand that folds away and can fit in a smaller vehicle, reducing the need for large lorries to transport your stand to an exhibition.
THE PATH TO EXHIBITING SUSTAINABILITY…
Quadrant2Design is one of a select group of exhibition stand design and build providers who adhere to a truly sustainable exhibiting model.
They are exhibition stand designers whose products, services, and facilities enable exhibitors to choose legitimately sustainable exhibiting over the appalling waste of custom-built stands.
These solutions are best described as custom-designed modular – or custom-modular – exhibition stands.
Quadrant2Design’s solution, the Prestige Events System, offers the environmentally aware exhibitor a number of advantages:
- Transport: Smaller, lighter, less-polluting vehicles can be used to move the hardware to and from the event.
- Speed: Exhibition stands can be built quickly, using less on-site labour and resources.
- Safety: No power tools are required, nor dust and debris produced, which means significantly reduced health and safety risks.
- Clean-process: No screws, nails, glues, laminates, solvents or chemicals are needed on-site, reducing rubbish in the aisles.
- Reusability: Structure and graphics can be easily reconfigured and reused for different stand space, at different shows, allowing these materials a much longer life than build ‘n’ burn exhibition stands.
A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODEL
These stands are the solution to sustainable exhibiting – they project a consistent corporate look over all the exhibiting company’s exhibition stands and events, and they make the most of stretched budgets.
As well as having a solution that enables sustainable exhibiting, our business model is centred around giving you the power to reuse your exhibition stand again and again.
One example is our Lifetime Free Stand Design policy. You can ask us to reconfigure their stand design to fit new exhibition space – free of charge – at any time, now or in the future.
For efficiency, we store your graphics (also for free) and retrieve them for reuse on future projects.
With over 80% of our projects being on their Free2hire™ plan, clients are aware that their exhibition hardware and graphics are being utilised in an efficient and sustainable way.
It is possible to create custom-designed sustainable modular exhibition stands that look great, while meeting the exhibitor’s desire to find responsible and sustainable solutions, despite scepticism from both industry members and exhibitors alike.
Finding sustainable solutions to running a business has become not only a popular focal point in recent years but also an important one – don’t get left behind with desk and a set of roller banners.