Trade Show TalesBlog

Classic’s Green Initiatives: Word on the Street — May 16th thru May 20th

May 21st, 2011 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Classic’s Green Initiatives (What You Should Know)

So, you may be saying, “Well it’s about time!” But not so fast.

Over the past three to four years, we have witnessed a lot of companies  jump, or should I say “belly-flop,” into the Green/Sustainable movement. In doing so, many have looked foolish by attempting to make “Green” a marketing ploy rather than a responsible business plan. I’m sure you’ve seen many of the claims. My favorite was the exhibit manufacturer that claimed their lunchroom was a green initiative since many employees ate there rather than drive to a fast food joint.

As a result, we have opted not to market a green plan that is not real. Instead, we have taken real steps to become a more responsible business when it comes to recycling and being a steward of the environment.

Granted, we’ve had help. As many of you know, we acquired ownership in Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits last June. But even before that, we had a very close partnership with Eco-systems where we provided manufacturing expertise to Eco-systems, and they, in turn, guided us toward more sustainable manufacturing processes.

Again, this has been a learning process for Classic Exhibits — one we are still learning almost daily. We still have a long way to go, but our Production and Administrative employees are clearly passionate about it. Make no mistake, we will continue to become more and more environmentally conscious. But understand one thing. It’s unlikely we’ll refer to Classic as a “Green Company” anytime soon. Because we are not. For exhibit solutions that are 100% “Eco-friendly,” we encourage you to turn to Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits, the industry leader in sustainable displays.

Here are a few of the Green/Sustainable changes in our manufacturing process over the past few years.

recycle, reuse, reduce

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce

1. Eco-fi Fabric

Classic uses Eco-fi fabrics, which are made from recycled soda bottles, for many of our fabric needs. Whether it’s on Quadro Pop-ups, Intro Folding Fabric Systems, Euro LT Modular panels (backsides), or the wood crates that we line with fabric and completely jig for your displays.

2. Glues

Classic primarily uses 3M’s Fastbond 3000, a water-based adhesive. It’s a replacement for many of the standard glues of the past which were not only unsafe for the environment, but also did not work as well.

3. Metal Recycling

You can’t be the leader in hybrid exhibit manufacturing and MODUL aluminum extrusions without metal drops. Nearly every order creates drops whether it’s Aero Overhead Hanging Signs, Visionary Designs Hybrids, Sacagawea, or specialty work on our CNC mill. We work with a local company called Metro Metals. They pick up our drops for recycling and pay us for the metal.

4. Aluminum Extrusions

We are very fortunate to work with a local aluminum extruder that believes in using as much regrind aluminum as possible in their billets. So much so, that they are the only extruder we know that certifies the recycled content of their billets with a 27 percent post consumer minimum! Combine that with the fact that they recycle their own drops off the extrusion press (post industrial) and you get a level of recycled content that often exceeds 70 percent.

5. Sheet Goods

Like others in our business, we use a lot of sheet goods:  Sintra, Lexan, Styrene, Coroplast, Black Foam, Acrylic, Laminate, and certainly Wood.

On the plastics, we developed a program with a local company, Denton Plastics, where they pickup our drops and recycle it into reusable pellets. With a simple series of labeled drop bins, our shop staff has someplace other than the trash to throw even the smallest pieces of laminate and acrylic scraps. Which leads me to the next item . . . .

6. Regrind Cases and Black Foam

All of Classic’s roto-molded cases  are made from 100% regrind plastic. The beauty is that the plastic pellets used to make our regrind cases are supplied by Denton Plastics, the same company that recycles all of our sheet good drops (except the wood of course). So, the drops we produce are actually in some cases recycled into pellets that are then used by our local roto-molder to make our cases. Pretty cool and a fast reclamation of goods.

In addition, the die-cut foam packaging you’ve come to expect and love from Classic is made from recycled content. The next time you receive a Sacagawea or a Perfect 10 and open a roto-molded case (regrind plastic), unpack the MODUL aluminum (recycled content), and admire the packaging (recycled foam), you’re witnessing our commitment to finding green solutions.

7. Wood

Classic has many local options for recycling our wood drops as well. All of which, like the plastics, get ground down and then sold for re-use in either recycled sheet goods or other recycled wood products.

8. Cardboard and Paper

Recycling cardboard and paper has always been easy. We’ve been recycling all our paper products for years.

So rather than send out press releases about how we encourage carpooling, or how our systems are reconfigurable, or how we offer a substantial rental program, all of which make us green somehow, we’ll continue to take it one positive step at a time and learn from our suppliers, our employees, and from our partner Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits.

Be well.

–Kevin Carty

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