Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Greening Trade Shows

Please help me welcome guest blogger, Sherri Akers, as she shares a message concerning the "greening" of trade shows. Throughput.us LLC is pleased to draw attention to this cause. The Greening of Trade Shows As a veteran of decades of trade shows, I am painfully aware of the waste involved. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, trade shows and conventions represent the second most wasteful industry in the United States. I’ve recently had the pleasure of learning about two organizations making great strides to change this. The main sources of trade show waste are:
  • Left over show publications - there’s no outbound shipping for those materials and no one’s responsible to come pick it up
  • Exhibit hall meals - everything gets thrown away and food is not even considered to be taken to the pig farm where they feed pigs hotel food
  • Shows don’t consider hanging signs and banners as recyclable
  • 500,000 pounds of plastic badges are used in Vegas alone every year without getting reused or recycled
Zachary Delbex-Smith has founded Greener Vegas, a consultancy and referral service to help trade shows clean up responsibly. Greener Vegas' goal is to raise community awareness of recycling initiatives already being conducted by businesses in Las Vegas, and to facilitate more of these initiatives by providing consulting and limited recycling services. So far this year... Greener Vegas has recycled 575,674 lbs of paper which has saved:
  • 4,893 trees (~19.6 Acres)
  • 1,989 Barrels of Oil (~38,779 Gallons of Gasoline)
  • 2,014,859 Gallons of Water (~8.1 Olympic swimming pools)
  • 1,151,348 Kilowatts of Energy (Enough to power 129 homes for a year)
The service is basically free. The Las Vegas Convention Center has off-source collecting and sorting, but that means an entire other step of trash hauling and re-separating what’s already been separated. In May of this year, I attended the Chicago Green Festival and the Co-Op America Green Business Conference. Both events were managed by Seven-Stars. Their focus is on landfill redirection – everything is either composted, recycled or reused – very little is thrown away. In fact, they average a 93% landfill diversion rate. You’ll hear a lot more about Seven-Stars in the near future as they will be managing the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Their menu of services includes:
  • On site power alternative power generation
  • Carbon Offsets based on ISO Certified Restoration Projects
  • On site waste diversion management and execution including composting to local farms
  • Product replacement with eco friendly options, including biodegradable kitchenware for food and beverage service
Trust me – in no way did it feel as though the accommodations had been downgraded. Seven-Stars has over ten years experience in the creation of the most successful green events in the trade, entertainment, conference and exposition industry. They bring a higher level of environmental and social responsibility to this industry, while simultaneously improving long term financial performance for the executive producer, venue and clients. One look at the client list on their web site will convince you that this is the way of the future. I attended a Green Expo in Los Angeles where business cards weren’t exchanged – instead each booth had a bar code reader and they simply read your badge to load it into their files. In a few years we’ll look back at our old practices with dismay...
"Just as we would not consider tossing litter on the street today, the idea of a trade show that generates massive waste will be inconceivable!"
Sherri Akers Independent Consultant Revenge Is LLC
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