Trade shows and other similar events make a huge carbon impact on the earth, but unfortunately trade shows are a necessary evil for most businesses. In spite of all of the waste being produced and discarded, there are many ways to be greener when attending trade shows. With a little planning and forethought, you can make a huge impact for good through your trade show events, rather than leave a negative footprint on our planet.
Use Electronic Travel Documents
Everyone knows that the only efficient way to make hotel reservations and flight plans is online. What not everyone knows, though, is that there is no need to print your eticket. Instead, you can check in online. In fact, American Airlines and many other major airlines have a check in tab right on their home page. You can also use your iPhone to access booking codes. Every airport has an electronic ticket station in which you log in using booking codes; the computer then checks in your bags and prints your boarding pass.
As you prepare to go to the trade show and while you are there, you can choose to communicate via email and instant chat instead of with paper. An iPad is a great investment for businesses that plan to attend a lot of trade shows. With its wi-fi feature, an iPad can be used for everything that a laptop does plus more. With the App store, businesses can download top notch applications, such as the iWork which is much like the Microsoft Word suite. Or you can download Evernote, which is an advanced notes app that also takes pictures and records audio, great for taking down a client’s business card electronically. Business Insider has a great list of more business apps that are perfect for the businessman on the go.
Printing on both sides of recycled paper is an excellent way to reduce waste. Whenever you need light, use LED bulbs to reduce energy waste. Make your promotional materials reusable and use the same ones at every trade show. You can also reduce waste by using portable and reusable displays. For example, netbooks are a highly portable piece of equipment that you can carry anywhere you go. Instead of printing lots of brochures, try using your netbook to run a streaming video display for the trade show and then just prepare paper information packets for those who are interested, since a lot of printed materials get thrown out, especially in trade shows.
Cut Down on Shipping
Reduce your aids for the trade show as much as possible. You can use boxes for a table to eliminate the need to ship a table. Or you can use multipurpose materials instead of unnecessary extras. Whenever possible, carpool and use biodiesel. When you need to attend multiple trade shows, ship materials straight from one show to the next.
Give Green Gifts
Fun little trinkets printed with your logo are popular trade show giveaways. Put a little extra thought into your gifts to make them eco-friendly. T-shirts made of bamboo are definitely a conversation starter. Reusable water bottles cut down on plastic bottle waste. You may even want to hand out business cards that can be reused; for instance, hand out magnetic cards or folded business cards that contain a packet of seeds.
Set Up a Green Station
Provide recycling bins and water stations near your booth. As people see the effort you put into reducing waste and helping to save the planet, you can draw positive attention to yourself.
As you make green choices, it will encourage others around you to do the same. Try not to get discouraged when it feels like you are not doing enough. Your enthusiasm for eco-friendly choices will encourage those around you to do the same.