Save Money and Cut Waste at Your Next Trade Show

    Save Money and Cut Waste at Your Next Trade Show

    After a big trade show, you may find yourself with a big mess to clean up. Advertising materials, display furniture, and hundreds (if not thousands) of giveaway items, add up to a lot of waste. However, a new trend among many trade show booths, and vendor presentations, is some sort of environmental friendly aspect.

    Here are a few ways to minimize environmental impact, reduce your booth breakdown time, and decrease overall costs to attend a trade show:

    Rent Exhibits

    Not only do certain trade show booth rentals save you money, but renting can also greatly reduce unnecessary waste.

    Unless you plan on regularly using an item throughout the year, you can rent any resource you plan on only using once or twice, for a fraction of the cost.

    Great examples include lighting systems, furniture, electronics, non-branded display pieces, and interactive games like prize wheels. Many of these can be delivered directly to the exhibit hall. Direct delivery further reduces the headache of packing and unpacking these cumbersome items. Check rentals near the venue beforehand and calculate whether it might be more financially feasible to go this route instead of investing in your own fixtures.

    Coordinate Donations

    Many exhibition halls can assist you with community donations following a trade show. Local schools, youth programs, thrift shops and homeless shelters can benefit from unused freebies and scrap materials. In some cases, these items would otherwise be costly to bring back to the office. It may seem surprising, but even branded posters and attendee lanyards could be put to use as an arts and crafts project for underprivileged schools. Budding entrepreneurs sometimes visit thrift shops to give new life to gently used trade show materials. Check with exhibit hall management beforehand to see what donation opportunities they might offer. They may even be able to handle the logistics for you.

    Eco-Friendly Swag

    Unwanted freebies produce the bulk of trade show waste. Rather than forgoing a very popular feature, opt instead for consumable or green freebies. If unwanted, you can also donate food and drink items in environmentally friendly packaging. Other items, such as bamboo products, make good use of already recycled materials.

    Avoid trade show swag that usually ends up in the waste bin, such as dated technology or overly-branded items that are less appealing following a trade show.

    Foam stress balls emblazoned with company logos will populate landfills for years to come; a handy bottle of hand sanitizer or bamboo bag is useful for years to come. Check out our article on trade show freebies that work for more consumer friendly ideas.


    You might not be able to completely cut paper out of your exhibition booth, but you can offer electronic options for prospects that can reduce the amount used. No one wants to carry around piles of flyers and business cards. Many trade show exhibitors are adopting apps to scan business cards. These apps also aid with lead organization and follow up. Signing visitors up for electronic mailing lists during their booth visit can also keep you front and center in the prospect’s mind, rather than expecting them to dig out a brochure from their swag bag. Encourage visitors to go paperless when you offer special discounts, raffle tickets, or other incentives when they sign up for your electronic mailing list.

    By adding a green friendly, environmental aspect to your trade show booth, may not only help reduce your booth’s overall waste, but it may help you reduce your overall cost. Make sure to check back often, for we constantly updating our blog with your success in mind.

    Before your next trade show, make sure to take a look out our trade show checklist to help you with planning out your next event.


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