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35 Ways to Make Trade Shows More Sustainable


Trade show booths and event marketing can be more sustainable by reducing, reusing and recycling the materials used for trade shows.

Trade shows and events are a powerful marketing tactic and the numbers prove it. Attendance at events is rebounding nicely from the required hiatus of COVID-19. However, along with that resurgence comes a nagging question:

Are trade shows and events a sustainable way to reach your customers?

Between materials-intensive trade show booth fixtures, travel to and from the event, shipping of booth materials, promotional marketing giveaways, printed brochures and more, trade shows have the potential to be an environmentally unfriendly form of marketing. Thankfully, there are countless things that can be done to minimize your environmental footprint every time you participate in a show.

Blog Body Image – 35 Ways Trade Show 1

Celebrating Taylor St. Louis' 35th Birthday

Taylor Visual Impressions  St. Louis is a key member of the Taylor Corporation family of companies, creating trade show and event display solutions for distributor partners nationwide. Among those solutions are a wide range of sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives to resource-intensive booths and fixtures.

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In honor of their 35th anniversary, here are 35 ideas for making any trade show or event more sustainable.

  1. Seek out sustainable event venues that emphasize recycling, composting and energy efficiency.
  2. Promote your presence at an upcoming show via email, text or social media instead of by direct mail.
  3. Consolidate your trade show materials to require the fewest, smallest and lightest shipping cartons possible.
  4. Use environmentally friendly shipping materials such as recycled cardboard containers and starch-based biodegradable fillers.
  5. Prioritize events that are held in your “home” city or that can be easily reached by car or rail.
  6. When traveling by air, choose a non-stop flight whenever possible.
  7. Carpool or use public transportation once you’ve arrived at the event city.
  8. Use environmentally friendly, responsibly sourced paper for brochures and flyers.
  9. Make sure your print partner uses non-toxic soy-based inks and pigments instead of petroleum-based inks.
  10. Count how many brochures and flyers go unused after the show and adjust your print order for the next event.
  11. Don’t distribute printed materials at all; send your booth visitors to online content or a mobile app instead.
  12. Specify energy-efficient lighting in your trade show booth.
  13. Use recycled and recyclable materials in your trade show display.
  14. Seek out the smallest and lightest booth fixtures possible to minimize the carbon footprint related to shipping.
  15. Re-use the same signs in your booth for multiple shows.
  16. Reskin older trade show frames and fixtures rather than ordering new.
  17. When reskinning just won’t work anymore, donate your retired booth fixtures to a start-up or minority-owned business that can give them a second life.
  18. Rent trade show booth materials locally instead of purchasing and shipping your own.
  19. Decorate your booth with rented plants instead of banners and other manufactured items.
  20. Use local vendors for booth setup and support rather than flying in your own team.
  21. Purchase promo items made from sustainable, renewable materials.
  22. Purchase promo items that prospects are likely to use and re-use for a long time.
  23. Don’t distribute promo items; instead, think of clever ways to deliver value in a memorable, on-brand way.
  24. Eliminate single-use plastics (plastic bags, plastic utensils, straws) from your booth setup.
  25. Ensure that the office supplies you bring to the show – everything from pens and notepads to paper towels and cleaning products – are environmentally friendly.
  26. If you use a printer in your booth, switch to refillable ink cartridges.
  27. Give away reusable water bottles instead of bottled water.
  28. When giving away gift cards, make sure your gift card provider uses recycled and recyclable paper gift card stock instead of toxic PVC.
  29. Offer recycling and composting receptacles to your booth visitors.
  30. Don’t order branded apparel items just to wear at the show; let your booth and marketing collateral speak for your brand.
  31. If you do order branded apparel, seek out environmentally friendly items made from recycled or sustainable fibers.
  32. The morning of the show, get your caffeine boost from traditionally brewed coffee instead of packaging-intensive single-use coffee pods.
  33. Recycle all badges, brochures, flyers, etc., that cannot be re-used at your next show.
  34. Communicate with prospects after the show via email, text or social media instead of direct mail.
  35. Purchase carbon credits to offset the impact of your company’s trade show efforts.

Blog Body Image – 35 Ways Trade Show 3Bringing Sustainability to Trade Shows and Events

Taylor’s Visual Impressions business unit is a leading provider of trade show and event displays and graphics. We’re also leading the way in making the entire experience better for the environment.

Preserving Earth by Taylor represents Taylor’s holistic view of sustainability in the signage category. We offer our customers a more responsible and environmentally conscious way to use signs, graphics and displays. For example:


Taylor recently acquired Recrylic® – the world’s only line of certified recycled acrylic – which helps to reduce carbon emissions by 90% across a wide range of fixtures, displays and signs. Best of all, it costs the same as non-recycled acrylic.

rSERIES™ Fabrics

Taylor is one of the first U.S. companies to embrace recycled fabrics as its standard offering. Our entire line of rSERIES fabrics is made from recycled materials and is recyclable afterward. With options for everything from banners and backlit SEG displays to table throws and feather flags, rSERIES fabrics deliver the vibrant color and performance of non-recycled fabrics at the same price point.

Recycling by Taylor

Recycling by Taylor is our proprietary recycling program for signs, graphics and displays. Once a signage element becomes obsolete, it can be returned to Taylor and we will ensure that the item is recycled and transformed into something else.

Blog Body Image – 35 Ways Trade Show 4Want to make your trade show and event marketing efforts more sustainable? Contact a Taylor representative to learn more about Preserving Earth by Taylor.

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