5 Trade Show Marketing Ideas to Reduce Plastic

Trade shows and other events are absolute cesspits for plastic. From the marketing collaterals to the packaging and products distributed to attendees.

This is why going green can be an incredibly challenging feat for any event professional.

You want to make sure that your attendees have a great time at your event while at the same time maintaining sustainability standards.

If you’re an event organizer or manager looking for ways to make your event more environment-friendly, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are five (5) trade show marketing ideas to reduce plastic waste.

Make use of e-vites (Electronic Invitations)

Nowadays, almost anything can be achieved with a press of a button. Technology has come a long way since the first industrial revolution.

We no longer have to rely on traditional handicrafts and labor to communicate information and get tasks done. Neither do we have to wait too long for a response from our stakeholders.

Taking advantage of this element of technology can level up your event marketing strategy, all while maintaining sustainability.

Electronic invitations (e-vites) have gained more popularity over the years, being more convenient and cost-effective compared to traditional printed invitations. They allow companies to send out multiple messages at the same time as well as receive instantaneous replies from guests.

This is a great advantage to even planners, as it removes the normal delays you’d normally experience when planning events.

It’s also a much more eco-friendly alternative to paper and plastic invitations that need to be printed and mailed.

Think ‘reusable’

When you’re considering trade show marketing ideas to reduce plastic waste at your event, you’ll most probably come across recommendations for reusable or compostable packaging solutions.

Product packaging is a great place to start auditing your plastic consumption. After all, most of the products we consume today use plastic for packing e.g., water bottles, sandwich bags, and chip bags.

As you plan your event, consider including reusable packaging (or compostable) packaging in your event strategy.

Here are a few examples you can try out:

  • Encouraging your guests to bring their own water bottles or coffee tumblers to the event
  • Using paper or glass cups instead of plastic cups for beverages
  • Using paper wraps to pack sandwiches and other event food


There are other great ways to improve your marketing strategy while at the same time lessening plastic waste in society.

A perfect example is giving away free reusable items such as water bottles and metal straws to your guests.

Partner with an eco-conscious organization/group

If your goal is to increase conversion while at the same time promoting a more sustainable lifestyle to your guests, partnering with a company or organization that’s had experience in the field can help.

Several companies across the globe are eager to help other businesses improve their plans for sustainability.

A great example is Sinai Technologies, a platform that offers decarbonization programs that teach companies how to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Choose eco-friendly displays

Banners, posters, and table toppers — most of the time, these event displays are made out of plastic and other materials that aren’t reusable or recyclable in the least.

Make your event different by choosing eco-friendly displays and collaterals.

One way of doing this is by coming up with a design that can easily be recycled every time you hold an event. Next is to use materials that can be stored and reused.

Retractable banners and posters are two great examples of eco-friendly displays you can use at your trade show.

Use eco-friendly lanyards

Events like trade shows often require their participants to have some form of identification on them at all times. This is because trade shows are a place where businessmen and women come to network and create relationships with potential partners or customers.

Most lanyards are made of plastic materials that can be harmful to the environment. However, there are eco-friendly options that you can opt for instead.

Some manufacturers use cloth instead of plastic in their lanyards while others make them out of recycled products e.g, plastic and paper.

The great thing about lanyards is that they aren’t just a one-time-use item — your guests can use them for other purposes outside of your event.

The bottom line

Event planners may experience a slight learning curve when it comes to going green for their events — all that is expected. But there are ways to make the process easier for everyone to adjust.

By taking small and careful steps towards a more sustainable marketing strategy, everyone can benefit from a greener and more environmentally-friendly trade show.

The ideas we’ve shared above are just a couple of simple steps anyone can take to start their journey toward a greener and more sustainable future. Hopefully, these ideas will inspire you to incorporate sustainability into your events as well.

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