Tips For Greening Your Travel During Trade Show Season

As industry trade shows draw representatives from across the country, Stephen Ashkin, the jan/san industry’s leading advocate for sustainability, offers the following tips on making this the greenest, most sustainable trade show season ever:

 • Energy: When leaving your hotel room, turn off or at least turn-up the thermostat. There is no need to cool the room (and waste energy) while you’re at the convention. Also, close window blinds to reduce the greenhouse effect and don’t forget to turn off the lights, TV, radio and other electronic devices.

 • Water: Drink lots of it (I know this is a discussion about environmental conservation, but health takes precedence). Consider taking a refillable insulated bottle which saves water, materials/packaging and money – and it keeps the water cold. Also, change hotel towels and bed linens only as needed. And be conscious about water-use during showering, brushing teeth, shaving, etc. Remember that every drop matters.

 • Support Housekeepers: If any group is going to appreciate housekeepers it is us. So as you would tip the servers at a restaurant or bar, please consider leaving a tip for your housekeepers. Include a note thanking them for keeping your room clean and healthy.

 • Food: One of the biggest environmental impacts is the food choices you make and how much you eat. Unnecessary consumption is bad for the planet and your waistline. And don’t forget to eat some greens, which have a lower environmental footprint compared to meat, and it’s good for you.

 • Transportation: Walk and use public transportation as much as possible. Many trade shows offer shuttle buses to the convention center. And if you have to drive or take a cab, share it with others.

 • Dematerialize (source reduction): Try to minimize the brochures that you take from the exhibitors. Instead, ask them to email the information to you which will save a lot of trees, and is a means to observe the vendor’s responsiveness. Think about it – if it takes them three months to email you a brochure, how responsive do you think they’ll be if you really need something?

 • Innovation: Specifically ask exhibitors what they are doing that is green (further reducing potential negative impacts on health and the environment). Now that green cleaning products are widely available, ask what’s new and innovative (from a green perspective).