Cut down waste at trade fairs

Crowds at Comex 2019.
Crowds at Comex 2019.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Every year, thousands of people flock to the Comex fair to check out or buy the latest electronic gadgets.

Exhibitors slash prices and make generous promotional offers to attract consumers and boost their sales figures.

But the joy of getting new gadgets comes at a cost to the environment as more electronic waste is produced.

Exhibitors also spend huge sums of money to set up attractive booths, and print posters, fliers and brochures.

After the event, the booths are torn down and the wooden frames salvaged and recycled.

But what of the print materials? They are thrown away. Empty cartons and water bottles are also discarded.

The amount of trash created is enormous. Posters laminated with plastic and glued to styrofoam boards cannot be recycled. Laminated brochures are also non-recyclable.

Exhibitors should consider alternative ways to promote their products.

For instance, they can get visitors to scan QR codes that link to online brochures. Marketing gimmicks such as discounts, gifts with purchase and referral programmes can also be put up online.

Besides the empty bottles of water, unopened or half-empty ones are usually left lying around in the event hall.

Having more water coolers within the hall and limiting the number of cartons of bottled water exhibitors can take in can help to cut down on wastage.

While many people talk of saving the earth, their actions speak otherwise.

Chow Lai May

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2019, with the headline 'Cut down waste at trade fairs'. Print Edition | Subscribe