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Going Green: 10 Tips for Eco-Friendly Exhibiting - Articles Surfing

There's no question that consumers are starting to pay attention to eco-friendly companies. With the threats of global warming, over-filled landfills, water shortages, and many other environmental concerns looming on the horizon, some businesses that want to make a difference in the world*and attract a large amount of consumer goodwill*are choosing to go green.

There are plenty of reasons to consider environmental factors when planning for your next exhibit. If your industry is not traditionally linked with environmental movements, having a *green exhibit* is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Add to that the fact that you*re doing your part to make the world a better place, and you'll feel less guilty for blowing your competition out of the water. Here are ten tips for going green at your next exhibit.

Building a booth? Use eco-friendly materials. If you*re building a custom booth this year, you have several options for greener materials. First, try to avoid wood. The earth's forests are nearly 80% depleted, and that's bad news for our atmosphere. Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen*so they may be our first line of defense against global warming. Leave a few trees standing by choosing another material to build your booth.

One more eco-friendly choice is recycled metal. While this may not seem like the most biodegradable choice, it's much better than using non-recycled metals. For example, the process of recycling aluminum takes about 95% less energy than it does to create new aluminum from ore. Recycling steel uses about 60% less energy than making it from scratch.

Another option is wood/plastic composite. This building material is made up of sawdust from lumber and furniture companies mixed with fragments of plastic trash, such as soda bottles and garbage bags. There are many different brands, and the wood comes in colors ranging from deep ambers to espresso browns*as beautiful as natural wood, without the environmental price tag.

Consider your paints. Oil and latex-based paints are toxic to the environment*they contain poisonous chemicals that can*t be removed at a treatment plant. Leftover paint is often poured down the drain, and it gets into oceans and waterways. It also leaches from painted items in landfills, further damaging the environment. Even worse, VOC*s*volatile organic chemicals, such as cyanide*in paint evaporate at room temperature, contributing to global warming while coating your booth.

Instead of traditional paints, look for non-VOC paints made by big-name paint manufacturers such as Sherman Williams and Behr. Other eco-friendly paints are made from talcum powder, clay, and chalk.

Get green giveaways. When looking for a good giveaway item, choose with an eye toward minimizing trash. Avoid items that come in plastic packaging. Avoid plastic altogether, in fact, unless it's recycled. Good ideas include cotton or hemp tote bags, food in recycled-paper wrapping instead of plastic, recycled plastic Frisbees, pens and other items, and ceramic mugs. Stay away from plastic bags, wood, and non-recycled materials.

Use energy-efficient lighting. Incandescent light bulbs are notoriously inefficient. They emit only 10% of the energy they use as light. The rest is given off as heat*which is why these bulbs can catch your lampshade on fire if you*re not careful. Instead, use fluorescent bulbs. These are much more energy efficient.

Use recycled paper. There are a lot of paper products involved in a typical exhibit: business cards, signs and displays, brochures and promotional materials. Why not use recycled paper? While most people think of rough, textured and off-white paper when it comes to buying recycled, there are many companies that make smooth, bright-white papers that are comparable to virgin papers.

Consider green printing. Some inks can be as toxic as paint. You can go green with your printing by choosing a green printer. Not all are created equally; their commitment to green printing can range from using energy-efficient operating procedures to printing with soy-based inks on recycled papers. Be sure to shop around when looking for eco-friendly printers.

Talk to your vendor. Some booth vendors are more eco-friendly than others. Some may operate under environmentally mindful conditions*using alternative energy and energy-efficient practices, for example*while others may have pre-fabricated booths built from eco-friendly materials. Be sure to ask your vendor for more advice on how you can create a green display for your next exhibit.

Going green doesn*t have to cost a lot of money. While you may have to buy a custom booth to go green, recycled and eco-friendly materials sometimes cost less than their non-recycled alternatives. Talk to your vendor, research your options, and take your time in designing an approach to green exhibiting that works for your company. No matter how far you go with it*from using recycled papers to building an entire booth from eco-friendly materials*you'll be making a positive contribution.

Submitted by:

Graham Green

Graham Green is director at http://www.justdisplays.co.uk/ based in Essex, UK. For a wide range of information on producing exhibition stands including a range of folding panel stands visit http://www.justdisplays.co.uk/folding.asp



Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).


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