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Tradeshows And Their Impact On The Planet

Did you know that the tradeshow industry is the second largest industry to produce the most amount of waste? An estimated 60 million people will attend one of the 28,000 tradeshow and industry events put on every year, which will generate around 600,000 tons of trash. This includes flyers and promotional materials, samples, packaging, and company branded “freebies”- most of which are unused or barely used. These events can be great for marketing your business, but is there a way to do it while also lessening the impact on our environment? 

One of the largest contributors of tradeshow waste is unwanted “freebie” items. More than 70% of the free promotional items given out at these events don’t even make it on the plane back home with attendees. This means that they’re going straight into the trash, where those stress balls will populate landfills for years to come. This isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s bad for your wallet, as the average cost for tradeshow promotional materials ranges from $2,000-$10,000. 

One way to ensure your guests actually use the products you’re giving out is to switch to a consumable product. When you’ve been walking around a hot, crowded convention center all day, a bottle of water is much preferred over a frisbee or a lanyard. You can keep your guests hydrated while also still promoting your brand. By choosing a sustainable bottled water option like RAIN, your labels can be customized with your company logo, information, and QR codes that send them to your website and social media pages, which also cuts back on the need for paper flyers and promotional materials. 

It’s impossible to completely eliminate waste at these events, but there’s definitely ways to ensure what we’re giving out will be reused or recycled. By opting for an aluminum bottle over plastic, your guests will be encouraged to refill their bottles while at the show, keeping them walking around with your logo in their hands for longer. When they’re done, you can be assured that an aluminum bottle will actually be recycled, unlike plastic bottles which are actually recycled less than 15% of the time.

When events are over, very few companies will actually take the leftover promotional items back to the office with them. Flyers will be thrown away and stress balls thrown in the trash so they don’t take up valuable space in the suitcase or boxes. Water can be donated to local food banks, crews helping to break down the booths, or even taken back to the office for employees to enjoy in meeting spaces and beyond. It’s not only better for business, but the planet too.