Greenbuild, the world’s largest expo dedicated to green building organized by Informa, recently partnered with ABX, a popular annual show for New England’s design and construction industry, to deliver an amazing attendee experience that emphasized the idea of eco-friendly building. The two shows turned to Freeman to develop a dynamic, budget–sensitive strategy that would inspire their suppliers and exhibitors to take bold steps toward sustainability.
Planting the Seeds
Key goals included working with local recyclers to find solutions for hard–to–recycle items, reducing storage needs, and integrating recyclable materials in meaningful ways. In addition, the solutions not only had to work for both organizations, but also for their diverse groups of exhibitors. During pre–planning meetings, Freeman led push–the–envelope discussions on how to eliminate trade show waste and improve recycling practices.
Watching it Grow
We worked with new recycling vendors that accepted hard–to–recycle items left behind by exhibitors and debuted a 100% recyclable cardboard booth for the Freeman-sponsored lounge and recharge station. Greenbuild replaced sponsored carpeting with Freeman Aisle carpet, which is processed and recycled after five uses, saving money and resources on shipping and storage. Local vendors recycled leftover materials and a donation program was set up for materials or products exhibitors no longer wanted.
Reaping the Rewards
Far from just superficial “feel-good” gestures, the combined efforts meant 90.5 percent of the typical waste generated was diverted from landfills into many recycle streams – the highest waste diversion rate ever achieved at a Greenbuild show. And with the establishment of new best practices with new local suppliers, future shows will continue to benefit. Rethinking, reducing, reusing, repurposing, and recycling produced an eco–friendly event to take event greening to the next level.