Fifteen years ago, Classic Exhibits made a commitment to sustainable exhibits with ecoSmart Sustainable Displays. Our commitment hasn’t waivered with over 150 eco-friendly islands, inlines, and accessories.
We invite you to explore ecoSmart Sustainable this month. Our Summer Savings Promotion features over 25 contemporary eco-friendly designs. Effective through 8/31/23.
The sky’s the limit for our ecoSmart Sustainable Displays. All of our ecoSmart products are designed and constructed with the most environmentally-friendly materials available.
If you do not see a design that meets your specific needs, let us know. We have an exhibit design service. Allow us to create a unique, custom display that is specific to your needs.
If you’re reading this article, then you’re already an excellent candidate for a custom eco friendly exhibit. You may be personally committed to green materials, or your company may have a sustainability initiative. Either way, it’s a positive choice. In this post, we’ll explore what sustainable means when it comes to designing, building, and shipping a “green exhibit.”
Historically, trade shows have not been eco-friendly. There’s the “build and burn” philosophy in some parts of the world where exhibits are abandoned after one use. There’s also the tremendous waste created before, during, and after a show – like packaging, paper, wood, foam, and fabric signs, and flooring. Fortunately, about 15 years ago, show organizers, general contractors, and builders took a (somewhat) more enlightened approach with the goals of more eco-friendly trade shows.
You Can Make a Difference with Our Sustainable Exhibits
As an exhibitor, you can make a difference, and that difference doesn’t have to cost more or compromise your design or marketing goals. Green display materials such as Eco-board, ReCo, and FSC wood products are smart choices that are comparable to non-sustainable materials in performance, look, and feel. However, none of that matters if you can’t get the design and the features you need in your exhibit.
Thankfully, since 2007, Classic Exhibits has been designing modern ecoSmart Sustainable Displays for our clients ranging from islands to inlines and counters to charging tables. There are hundreds of options and a wide range of designs.
Why Choose Eco-Friendly Exhibits?
Contemporary, Dynamic Designs
Environmentally Friendly Materials
Fulfill Your Company’s Sustainability Initiative
It’s an easy choice. There is no downside to going with an Eco-friendly Exhibit.
How Are EcoSmart Displays Sustainable Trade Show Exhibits?
Every Eco-Systems Exhibit starts with sustainable materials. These include:
Aluminum Extrusions: 70% recycled content and aluminum is endlessly recyclable.
Forest Stewardship Council Wood Products: Certified grown and harvested sustainably.
Laminates: Greenguard Certified.
Adhesives: Water-based, low or VOC free (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Eco-Board: Biodegradable polystyrene.
ReCo Board: 100% recycled plastics.
Eco-Glass: 100% post-industrial recycled acrylic or plexi-glass.
Fabric Graphics: 100% post-consumer material including dye-sub SEG backlit graphics.
LED Lights: Lightboxes, accent lights, stem lights, and downlighting.
Shipping Cases made from recycled plastics and 100% recyclable when no longer needed. All wood crates are made using FSC Wood.
Reusable Packing Materials Made from Recycled Foam
In addition, Eco-Systems exhibits are manufactured in
Portland, OR at a sustainably managed facility.
OK, But Will My Eco Friendly Exhibit Look “Green”?
Do you mean funky, crunchy, or recycled-looking? It can but most exhibitors want a sustainable exhibit with a contemporary look and feel. In other words, no one knows it’s “green” unless you tell them. That applies to 10 ft, 20 ft., islands, and accessories.
10 Eco Friendly Exhibit Examples
Here are some examples from the 200+ kits in the ecoSmart galleries.
Eco Friendly Island Exhibits
ECO-4022: This modular design, with 10 ft. and 20 ft. inline options, has bright LED Lightboxes, reception counters with locking storage, and even a spacious interior conference room
ECO-4055: An elegant island with product shelving and showcases. This design comes with curved headers and a monitor option.
ECO-4094: This open design with seating and a reception counter is cost-effective as a purchase or a rental.
ECO-4071: The custom modular design is perfect for the exhibitor with an aggressive show schedule that includes 10 ft, 20 ft., and island booths. The ECO-4071 is easy to reconfigure and includes sustainable options like LED lights, graphics printed on recycled materials, and an aluminum structure.
ECO-1071: Modular and customizable, the ECO-1071 makes it easy to demonstrate products or services on the show floor with casual seating, counters, and rotating tablet displays.
ECO-2060: Big, bold graphics make this an enticing exhibit. There’s even a full-size closet for product samples, coats, purses, and briefcases.
ECO-2113: The perfect balance between backlit graphics and extensive shelving. The curved display counters put your products front and center on the aisle.
ECO-1038-B: Backlit and beautiful, the ECO-1038 shines with backlit graphics, locking closet storage, and a practical reception counter. Need more space? The ECO-1038-B easily reconfigures to a 10 x 20 with even more storage and backlighting.
Sustainable Exhibit Accessories
ECO-42C Reception Counter: The contemporary design, backlit graphics, and raised plex countertop will attract attention, but it’s the FSC wood, LED lights, and recycled acrylic that make it sustainable.
ECO-22C Pedestal: Attracting shelving options on the aisle are like unicorns. People talk about them but no one can find one. The ECO-22C is the ideal solution for featuring products “front and forward” at a trade show with six adjustable shelves.
How Much Customization is Available with Green Exhibits?
In short, we’ll build whatever you want. The online galleries are idea generators where you can see what’s possible, and mix and match designs to fulfill your specific marketing needs. For example, we have clients in the natural foods industry. Most want a bright and colorful exhibit with extensive shelving and storage, plus convenient counters for sampling. They also need a reconfigurable sustainable exhibit since their shows vary from local tastings when a 10 ft. booth is ideal to an industry show in Las Vegas, Anaheim, or Boston where only an island will do to handle the crowds, meetings, and press conferences.
When it comes to an eco-friendly display, there’s no reason to limit your vision. The materials are comparable in price to non-green materials and have the same construction flexibility.
Is There an Ultimate Sustainable Exhibits Option?
Looking for the ultimate sustainable exhibit for your trade show program? Don’t buy it. Rent it. Rental displays made with sustainable materials are a win-win. They’re constructed with eco-friendly materials, including aluminum, FSC wood, and recycled graphic fabric and substrates.
Custom rental exhibits are quickly becoming the greenest of green choices for exhibitors who want to make a difference. Many rental exhibits are built with the same materials previously mentioned, come in a variety of sizes and designs, and can be customized for any exhibitor — even from show to show. Rentals give exhibitors the ultimate flexibility to change their messaging without the hassle of ownership.
An eco-friendly rental from Classic Exhibits looks identical to a purchased exhibit. Just imagine your beautiful island display with large LED lightboxes, big overhead signs, conference and meeting rooms, and workstations at a price 40% less than a comparable purchased display.
Because rentals are used again and again, as long as the components are functional and attractive, they are more sustainable for the exhibitor and the builder. Plus, at Classic Exhibits, when components can no longer be used, we recycle them – wood, aluminum, and plastic. That may not always happen when an exhibitor decides to dispose of their purchased display.
To view all of the rental designs, click on Rentals or Exhibit Design Search. Or start a conversation with a Classic Exhibits professional about designing a one-of-a-kind custom rental display.
Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufactures portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including Symphony Portable Displays. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.
First held in 1970, Earth Day challenged and mobilize Americans to bring awareness to the issues caused by air and water pollution as well as the amount of trash going into landfills. Rivers on fire, dead fish floating on the surface of lakes, and smog blanketing major US cities were common news items back then. Does anyone remember when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland was on fire in 1969?
Here’s Walter Cronkite reporting on the first Earth Day in 1970.
New Laws and Agencies
These environmental disasters and health issues caused by
pollution led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
OSHA, The Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act among others. These
laws have protected millions of men, women, and children from disease and death
and protected hundreds of species from extinction.
Recycled and Green Materials
Environmental issues also led to the practice of recycling
which became mainstream in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that
states began mandating the recycling of paper, plastics, and metal. Recycling decreased the amount of waste going
into landfills and created a new industry dedicated to producing recycled raw
materials and products with the same look, feel, and quality of products made
from virgin raw materials.
Aa a trade show veteran in the 80s and 90s, I remember the
staggering waste produced at a typical show or event that went into landfills.
Since then, recycling and sustainability have had a positive impact on North
American trade shows. We no longer see mountains of brochures, paper products,
give-a-ways, and carpeting thrown away.
However, building eco-friendly exhibits continued to be a
challenge. Green materials either weren’t available or were expensive. Plus,
there was a misconception that sustainable meant designing a building a display
that was either structurally unsound or aesthetically unattractive.
Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits
In 2006, Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits was founded to give exhibitors eco-friendly trade show booths that didn’t compromise on design or quality. Eco-Systems utilized eco-friendly materials similar to Sintra, fabric made from recycled plastics, aluminum extrusions produced using new and recycle aluminum, FSC certified wood, Green Guard laminates and water-based adhesives and inks. As technology has evolved, so has the quality of the material we use today in the construction of Eco-Systems displays. But one thing has never changed: the innovative designs that made Eco-Systems appealing.
Over the past 15 years, sustainability has been a major
initiative for most corporations, a trend we’re seeing again as companies
revisit their trade show program. Unfortunately, many exhibitors don’t realize
they have sustainable options.
Offering your clients an eco-friendly exhibit is not only is
the right thing to do for the environment but also gives your clients the
ability to tie their corporate sustainability initiatives into their trade show
program. And the best thing is they can do this without compromising the design
or the quality of the materials used to build the exhibit. Plus, purchasing or
renting an Eco-Systems display never costs more than a non-sustainable exhibit.
We encourage you to visit the Eco-System’s Galleries in Exhibit Design Search with over 200 contemporary designs.
In recent years there has been a movement toward minimizing waste in the exhibit and event industry, from minimizing printed materials to laying down carpet tiles that can be re-used. Nancy Zavada founder and president of MeetGreen, was thinking outside the box when she found a way to donate graphic murals from the IMEX America Show, which often get trashed after one show, to a senior citizen home for use in their common areas.
But one hurdle that hasn’t been overcome is the problem of what is known as “Build & Burn.” That’s when a custom exhibit is built for a particular event and when the show is over it literally gets tossed into a landfill. I hope it’s obvious that this practice is inherently wasteful, but while it has largely fallen out of favor in the U.S., Build & Burn is still commonplace in Europe and Asia.
A few years ago, for example, one of my financial clients needed me to design and build three 20-foot inline exhibits, one for the US, one for Europe, and one for Asia. She accepted our proposal for two of the three but said she found a much lower price for the exhibit in Asia. I warned her about the Build & Burn issue and asked her whether the exhibit will be designed and constructed for long-term, multiple-event use. Well, three months later, she called me to say the vendor disposed of the exhibit after the first show.
The Environmental Impact
“Even though there are increased efforts internationally to use sustainable or recycled materials in the construction of trade show exhibits, Build & Burn is still the predominant method of booth construction in many parts of the world,” says Tom Beard, Regional Sales Manager of Classic Exhibits. “It has a major impact on the environment due to the amount of materials sent to a landfill.”
There are some legitimate reasons why companies choose Build & Burn exhibits. Some shows may only happen once every three or four years and exhibitors won’t want to pay to have their exhibits shipped back and stored, especially if they’ll need new design and graphics to match the company’s future marketing messages.
However, there are eco-friendly alternatives to Build & Burn. One alternative is what some call “Euro-Booths.” They’re modular designs based on a common white-wall structure, each with the same counter. Exhibitors rent the booth and just bring their graphics. The booths are reusable and since they’re usually stored on-site or near the venue, they also cut down on shipping costs.
The Rental Alternative
“Rentals are the most eco-friendly way to exhibit internationally,” says Beard of Classic Exhibits.
Some vendors, however, want a unique look that will differentiate them from their competitors. To fill that niche, some vendors are now offering custom rental solution that looks more like a custom-built exhibit with the sustainability benefits of a reusable exhibit.
As companies increasingly emphasize sustainability throughout their businesses, they’ll want to work with event partners that can support those goals through re-usable alternatives, that often also save money, rather than wasteful Build & Burn exhibits.
“From what I’ve heard, the tide is turning from Build & Burns based on awareness of the wastefulness of it in some areas and the associated shipping/labor/disposal costs,” says Candy Adams, The Booth Mom, expert Exhibit Management Trainer and well known Tradeshow Speaker, “Another cost factor is the availability of more aluminum extrusion systems/SEG (silicone edged graphic) fabrics; it’s getting to the point of being cheaper to rent the extrusion, and print it in Asia and ship it to shows, rather than building a one-time-use exhibit onsite and then trashing it.”
The Future of Build and Burn
As we look toward the day when live events resume, let’s hope that sustainability becomes an important part of the conversation. The Pandemic Pause could provide an important opportunity to rethink the events business and move past Build & Burn exhibiting. Glenda Brungardt, Global Tradeshow/Event Manager at tech giant HP said it best. “Bottom line for me: Build & Burn may be a simple solution for a specific show. But as an event planner it is my job to look at the bigger picture and what impact my choices in the construction of a booth have not only on the environment but also on the brand I represent.”
During the past year, I confirmed something I suspected was true: the push to be eco-friendly has lost momentum in the trade show industry. It’s not anyone’s fault, but like other trends, it has become an afterthought for many exhibitors and exhibit builders serving the trade show industry. That trend is your opportunity in 2020.
Most companies have a sustainability policy, whether it’s a corporate initiative at a Fortune 500 company or a zero-waste policy at a local manufacturer.
My question is … Are marketing departments, particularly the trade show or event marketing functions, tying into the sustainability policies of their respective companies? Some are when they’re selling a green product or service, but a majority are not since most corporation’s sustainability policies rarely include their trade shows unless it’s mandated by a show like Greenbuild.
However, “sustainability” can create a selling advantage — a key differentiator. The subject of sustainability may not be something you lead with in a presentation, but it might be the added benefit that could spark interest and make you stand out from your competitors. If everything is equal between you and a competitor in the mind of your client, then sustainability might be what wins the project.
It’s important to communicate to your clients that sustainable materials are NOT more expensive than standard materials plus the quality and durability of eco-friendly materials is equal to or exceeds those standard materials. You have the opportunity to offer your customer more for their money.
Now that you are excited about selling the benefits of eco-friendly booths, the fact remains that design is the principle reason clients make a buying decision along with the relationship you’ve established and the services you provide. For that reason, we know that presenting a design that meets your clients’ visual expectations along with their budget is your primary goal and being eco-friendly is an added bonus.
Your success is our success so let us know how we can continue to support your sales efforts with sustainable designs at Classic Exhibits.
See below for images of our 10 x 30 booth at EXHIBITORLIVE 2019 which is a finalist for the Portable Modular Awards. Please vote.
Tom Beard, Regional Sales Manager, Classic Exhibits Inc.