At some point in our careers, most of us have the opportunity (if not the desire) to attend a convention or trade show. These events can be learning experiences, but the truth is what results from trade shows is mostly garbage. The convention and trade show industry is second only to construction in the amount of waste produced. Industry research done for Smash Hit Displays says that 60,000,000 people attend trade shows, industry events or consumer shows every year. Each person at one of these shows produce an estimated 20 pounds of waste, totaling over 1 billion pounds of waste!
So what can you do the next time you’re sent off to attend the latest industry or trade show to lessen your impact?
Get company information from the cloud:
Companies increasingly provide white papers, brochures, and other company information electronically in the cloud. You can just about your own personal 20 pounds by heaving around all that information in a plastic bag.
BYOB (bring your own bag):
If you do have to pick up the odd paper flyer here and there from those companies not yet hip enough to clean up their act, then why not just bring your own cloth bag from some other trade show you’ve been to?
Just say no to the useless schwag:
Come on, you don’t need that piece of plastic junk with a company logo on it. Bright, shiny objects are tempting, but be green by resisting the temptation!
Use the mobile app:
These days most event organizers provide a mobile app to help navigate the exhibition floor, schedule meetings, and get additional information on events and special forums.
Cups and utensils:
Just like going on a camping trip, consider packing a small lunch kit in your bag to avoid using plastic utensils and cups. Anything to reduce your contribution to the landfill is a great thing. Make sure to bring a water bottle as well.
Trade shows can be a great opportunity to learn, gather information and make new contacts, but they can also be a great big load of garbage. It’s easy to do your part to make it more about information and networking and less about generating needless waste.
Image credit: ifindkarma, courtesy flickr