How This Trade Show Helped the Environment

See how the Green Living Show created a green event through everything from recycled carpeting to organic uniforms for staff.

By Jenny Berg April 15, 2015, 7:15 AM EDT

Ikea erected a 14- by 24-foot art installation made of recycled toilet paper. The installation promoted Ikea's use of recycled napkins, toilet paper, and paper towels in Canadian stores.

Photo: Courtesy of Green Living Show

The Green Living Show brought sustainable lifestyle ideas to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 27 to 29. The consumer show drew some 38,000 attendees—breaking attendance records—and those who took public transit or brought a piece of waste for recycling were given free admission. “We look at the best way to reduce waste across the board,” said Robert Orlovski, vice president of client services at Green Living Enterprises, which produces the show. “Everything we do comes back to the show being a green event.”

The planning process included selecting exhibitors that went through the Green Living Green Screen Process. “Green Living reviews how potential exhibitors are undertaking environmental initiatives and programs, including assessing available data for results,” Orlovski said. “Our Green Screen process ensures that all of the products featured at the show meet environmental performance standards.” Exhibitors were encouraged not to print materials, or, if necessary, to use responsible printing methods.

Planners implemented new measures this year to minimize the show's impact on the environment. One such technique included using Bullfrog Power generators to inject renewable energy onto a grid to match the amount of electricity used at the event. “Bullfrog's green electricity comes exclusively from wind and hydro-facilities that have been certified as low impact by Environment Canada under its EcoLogoM program,” Orlovski said.

Additionally, all banner signs were made from biodegradable material that degrades without producing toxic residue. Organizers also used reusable whiteboard signage and outfitted volunteers with organic cotton T-shirts made by Me to We, a company that provides a revenue stream for international children's charity Free the Children. All of the show's bowls, cups, cutlery, and other materials used for food service and sampling were compostable. And even the carpeting, provided by the show's decorator GES Canada, was made from recycled fibers.

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