Alternatives to Using PVC at Your Events

PVC, meetings
Every trade show still showcases thousands of square feet of banners—every day, all over the world.

If every meeting in the US used one banner, it would be enough vinyl to cover 760 football fields. That’s a scary statistic.

The reasons to do away with PVC banners are many. The vinyl chloride used in manufacturing has been identified as a possible cancer-causing agent, making it harmful for those who work with it. It’s also extremely difficult to recycle.

Yet every tradeshow/exhibition still showcases thousands of square feet of banners—every day, all over the world. In her Eventcellany blog, sustainability expert Shawna McKinley of MeetGreen offers the following alternatives to using vinyl at events:

• Name badge holders are commonly made with clear PVC vinyl. Instead, consider compostable PLA, recyclable PET or polypropylene (PP) plastic holders or holder-less badges made of paper.

• Flexible hanging banners and adhesive decals are often made of PVC vinyl. Why not use digital displays or other non-PVC flexible textiles, such as PP, PET or polyester?

• Rigid panels that are inserted into aluminum tracking frames for signs, registration counters and exhibit kiosks are made from PVC vinyl. Consider cardboard, non-toxic wood and fiberboard instead.

• Exhibit hall table cloths are also made of PVC vinyl. Instead, you can use paper or non-PVC coated cotton.

• Many promotional giveaway items are made of different kinds of plastics. Choose something else instead.

Learn more about the green benefits of using LED lighting at your events here.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.