Easy Rules for Green Trade Show Banners

Easy Rules for Green Trade Show Banners

May 17, 2019 | Trade Show Exhibitions

Easy Rules for Green Trade Show Banners

With climate change, destruction of nature and the continued exploitation of earth’s resources, protecting the environment has never been more vital. Consumers are actively looking for businesses that play their part in sustainability and environmental protection. They are also prepared to pay more to buy products from a “green” company rather than one that doesn’t express ecological ethics.

Trade shows are a great way to show off your green credentials, but are you practicing what you preach?

Going green reaches further than the products and services that you provide. Your business infrastructure and equipment should be considered also, and this includes your trade show booth display.

A lot of booth holders consider themselves “green” because their booth is mostly constructed of aluminum instead of plastic, but the environmental and health implications of aluminum mining are severe, which makes this material about as green as plastic.


What should you be doing to create a greener booth display?

Thankfully there are green solutions available on the market. Start with your banner stands and work your way upwards by following our easy rules to create an environmentally friendly booth:


  • Research the different materials available and their green credentials. Some materials (like the aluminum mentioned above) may seem green but in fact, are not.
  • Have your banner stands printed with evergreen graphics, meaning they will be relevant for use in all trade shows and events. If you need one-off event-specific banners or marketing, get these printed on cardboard as this will biodegrade rather than sit in a landfill once you’re done with them.
  • Invest in banner stands where all materials are 100% biodegradable.
  • Ditch plastic entirely. Plastic may be cheap, but it’s also flimsy and needs replacing often, increasing the amount of non-biodegradable waste you generate.
  • If you must choose aluminum, opt for recycled aluminum.
  • Double check that all the materials comprising your banner display can be recycled. Recycling rules differ from state to state so ensure you’re choosing a material that can be recycled in your area.
  • Have a recycling process set up within your business, so staff knows what to do with your banner stands when they’ve reached the end of their life.
  • Choose eco-friendly printing inks and process. Green printing inks are non-toxic and therefore break-down in the environment without polluting it.


Which materials are best for green banners?

The good news is that there are several excellent and durable materials used to make banner stands and other display equipment. Choosing a 100% biodegradable and green banner has never been easier thanks to the choice that’s now available.

Some of the most popular sustainable materials include:

  • Bamboo: Bamboo is an excellent, fast-growing, sustainable, strong, and hard-wearing material that’s perfect for banner bases and stands. It also looks great.
  • Cardboard: When we think of cardboard, we often think of flimsy boards that can become soggy or break easily. In fact, cardboard can be extremely strong and durable. The glue used to bind cardboard is made of water and starch, so it is not harmful to the environment. When you’re done with it, it breaks down easily in the environment.
  • Wood: We’ve been using wood as a construction material for centuries, so we already know how good it is! Here are two things to consider, however, before choosing to use wood for your display: make sure that the wood you will use has come from a sustainable source and that it is a durable type of wood, because soft woods like pine won’t last as long.
  • Cotton: Strong and long-lasting, there’s a reason we make our clothes out of cotton. The good news when it comes to your trade show displays is that cotton can be printed on easily and it is 100 percent biodegradable.
  • Recycled materials: Recycled aluminum or plastic are not exactly “green,” but it’s better to use these materials recycled than it is to use new versions.
  • Upcycling: While not a material itself, upcycling is the process of reusing something old by giving it a facelift and refreshing its appearance. You can upcycle old banners by printing on the reverse side or covering the existing graphics.

    Other booth equipment can be upcycled too. Furniture can be painted and repainted, for example, and soft furnishings can be re-upholstered rather than replaced.

    YouTube is an excellent resource for ways to give your booth an environmentally friendly facelift.


Materials to avoid

We’ve briefly covered the two main culprits of avoidable materials, but there are some others to consider when purchasing a banner stand.

  • Aluminum: While the metal itself isn’t harmful to the environment, the mining and extraction process causes enormous environmental damage. It also contributes to health and social problems for communities living close by and for the workers in the mines.
  • Plastic: It doesn’t biodegrade, so it chokes our oceans and pollutes. Some plastics are toxic. Much of it kills wildlife. Avoid plastic where possible.
  • Vinyl: While vinyl is a popular and useful material for trade show displays, be aware that it doesn’t biodegrade, it isn’t particularly recyclable, and the printing process can be toxic.
  • Wood from unsustainable sources: Our trees are precious, so make sure any wooden booth display equipment and banners come from a sustainable, fast-growing source. Avoid rare or exotic woods.


The demand for sustainable and green materials is growing. This means that the choice for your green booth display will grow, as well as reducing in price.

The more you ask for this type of product, the more booth equipment suppliers will consider stocking it, so don’t be afraid to call your local supplier and ask them about eco-friendly materials.


Going green with your booth display will not only be kind to the environment, but it will also give you a broader appeal, making you popular with the increasing number of customers looking for greener businesses. Making the effort to use green trade show materials and develop your eco credentials, therefore, can be good for your business, good for your customers, and good for the plane