What trends do you see in “green” exhibiting?
John-Paull Davidson, founder: Since we started in 2007, we have seen steady growth in demand for green exhibiting from our clients each year we have been in existence. They tell us that they don’t have a lot of options to choose from, and it seems like a lot of companies take typical booths and call them “green” but they are not sure what is really green or not. Another trend is that going green is a way to differentiate brands aesthetically in the exhibit experience.
What materials does Boothster use for exhibits? Are these biodegradable?
We have deliberately moved toward a 99 percent biodegradable (and non-toxic) by volume and up-cyclable product line because our research and common sense tells us that being biodegradable is better than recyclable. By up-cyclable, we mean that our clients can return our booth materials when they are done with them, and we make new products from the left-over material. Furthermore, if a client is unable to return or recycle our booths, they will biodegrade on their own and not harm the environment.
Our core materials include:
Recycled fiber tubes – Super durable, these tubes are made with recycled paper and starch, like what comes from potatoes. They’re so green that REACH determined it didn’t even merit testing.
Bamboo fiber banner material – REACH certified, pesticide-free plantations, and combined with silicone (sand), it’s 99.6 percent biodegradable.
Soy glue infused plywood – Elegant and available in many varieties, it’s biodegradable, and the soybeans make the same kind of glue that sea mussels use to fuse to rocks. Chemical free.
All of this is made in the U.S., except for the bamboo fiber material, but we have searched the world and this is by far the greenest material for banners out there. It’s important to note that our products have almost a five year track record of durability, and you don’t have to spend more to be green with us.
What new products is Boothster now offering to help exhibitors be environmentally conscious?
The Eco Rolla is our first and most popular product. We are also inventing new products every few months. We are absolutely unmatched as far as green portable displays no matter what category you are considering: biodegradable, recyclable, made locally, non toxic, etc.
What is the number one issue an exhibitor should consider when using sustainable exhibits?
Where is your exhibit going to be in 10 years after your organization is no longer using it? Sure, the aluminum might be recyclable, but what if no one bothers to recycle it, or you can’t in the particular city you live in? If you know that your displays are 99 percent biodegradable and non-toxic, you don’t have to worry if someone dropped the ball 10 years from now. It will biodegrade on its own.
Is installation a major concern for Boothster’s clients?
Not at all. The only concern is our system is different, so the first time, it’s a good idea to have us demonstrate. I would love to have clients analyze how easy our booths are to set up compared to other portable displays on the marketplace. I think we would come out quicker and easier. Our booths can set up as fast as five minutes, up to six hours, and typically use no or few tools.
Are there any common misconceptions about using sustainable exhibits?
YES! People immediately think that going green costs more. Not with us. We now have nearly five years of trial and error, research, development, testing and material sourcing, and super creative design into our product line. We are less expensive than typical portable displays. And we can build all of this right here in the U.S.!
Is there a difference in capabilities or design between a regular exhibit and a green one?
Definitely. A green exhibit, especially one by Boothster, has an aesthetic quality that stands out in the typical sea of plastic and aluminum in any tradeshow. It’s like if you go to a party and everyone is wearing the same mass-produced clothes from the mall, and you see one person that has their own unique style with natural materials. That person is going to stand out.
Why should an exhibitor choose a sustainable exhibit over a regular one?
First I will take the cynical, business first position, which is that it’s more profitable because green exhibits really do stand out in the crowd. It’s a way to differentiate visually, as well as communicate to customers that you are a socially responsible organization. Beyond that, I believe that organizations and people have a responsibility that comes with living in an incredibly wealthy society to not contribute to pollution, waste, global warming, etc.
Does Boothster have a recycling program for exhibits? If so, how does it work?
We offer free recycling of Boothster-produced booths, and on a small scale, even offer recycling of non-Boothster booths. We have a program that when you bring your Boothster booth back to us, you can upgrade to a new product and receive a rebate on your next purchase. So there is further financial incentive to go green.