The IMEX organizers have always been committed to sustainability, each year releasing a report outlining the results of their green efforts—and setting an example for the entire industry.
Heading up this year’s effort is Eric Wallinger, director of sustainability at MeetGreen, whose founder Nancy Zavada is one of the industry’s leaders in greening meetings. Eric worked hand in hand with the IMEX Champions, who deserve equal credit for their tireless efforts: Dale Hudson, Milda Salciute, and Roger Lehner.
Here’s a synopsis of what they accomplished at the October show, and a full report will be released soon:
This was the first year IMEX America went straw free. (Compostable straws were available on request, but very few were used). Based on 9,500 cold drinks sold during IMEX America, and some Google research that a standard straw is 7.8 inches long, IMEX saved 1.17 miles of straws/single-use PET plastic.
They also sourced, for the first time, straw-free compostable lids for both hot and cold drinks. They fit all sizes of hot and cold cups. This dramatically simplified green procurement for a show of IMEX’s scale, with 12,000 attendees every day for four days.
Plastic-free Catering Menu
All items Sands prepared were served in 100 percent compostable packaging, including a compostable pizza box.
IMEX piloted the serving of Fair Trade Sustainable Decaf. In other years, the regular blend had been sustainable, but not the decaf.
Clean Plate Challenge
118 student future leaders cleaned their entire plates (took only what they could eat) during the second annual Future Leaders Forum Clean Plate Challenge.
Show organizers captured 2,566 participant badge lanyards for donation.
This was the first time the show used PVC-free floor decals.
200 vinyl show banners were captured and donated, to be used in making vinyl handbags.
IMEX’s catering goal is to source 50 percent of the menu regionally (within 500 miles of Las Vegas) to cut down on carbon.
Skip the Bottles
More than 20 exhibitors took part in first-ever IMEX America “Refill Movement” by sponsoring a water bubbler in their booths to help cut down on single-use plastic water bottles.
Recycling at Booths
This was the first time the show piloted a dual-bin recycling system for each booth.