Promoting Sustainability at this years ISSA Trade Show in Chicago

In just a few days members of ISSA, BSCAI, IEHA, ARCSI and CETA, as well as attendees from around the world will gather for the ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America tradeshow in Chicago.

For this one event, more than 17,000 people will travel to and from the city, occupy thousands of guest rooms, travel within the city, and dine out around town the town.

What is often overlooked with such a mega event is the environmental impact so many people can have coming to the tradeshow, during the tradeshow, out on the town, and then going home.

U.S. tradeshows generate more than 600,000 tons of trash every year by the 60 million people who attend tradeshows. This is a staggering amount that has a huge environmental impact.

In addition, convention halls consume huge amounts of energy and water each year.

Fortunately some convention centers, such as McCormick Park in Chicago, are taking steps to reduce these staggering amounts. But we all can do our part and reduce waste and consumption at the Show and promote sustainability as well.

Here are some suggestions:

On the convention floor:

* To cut down on waste, take only the paper catalogs, brochures, and other literature that you really need. Better yet, ask exhibitors to e-mail an electronic copy to you.

* Exhibitors are encouraged to send digital versions of brochures and print information to attendees
* Whenever possible, use washable or reusable plates, cups, napkins, and similar items.

*Make it easy for attendees to recycle; recycle bins should be placed throughout the floor

* Ask exhibitors about their sustainability initiatives; this sends a clear message that you are interested in and care about sustainability issues.

* Look for innovations in every product category-chemicals, paper, liners, equipment, tools, and other products-that are Greener alternatives and support sustainability.

In your hotel:

* Visitors to Chicago have a wide array of LEED and Green Seal Certified options when visiting the city. Here is a list of Green and sustainable hotels in Chicago.

* When leaving your guest room, turn off air-conditioning, lights, and electronics. In the U.S. hotels and motels spend an average of $2,196 per available guest room each year just on electricity.

* Reuse towels and linens to reduce water and energy consumption, and let the front desk know if the sink, tub, shower or toilets are running.

When dining out:

* Dine Green in Chicago. Here is a list of restaurants in the city that have taken significant steps to be Greener and promote sustainability.

* Dine at locally owned restaurants and bars. Supporting locally owned establishments puts more money back into the local economy instead of some international conglomerate, helping to invest in the local community.

* Taxi/Uber in groups to restaurants (and sights) around the city, helping to save fuel.

But most of all, enjoy the show, enjoy your stay, learn as much as you can, and help make this one of ISSA’s best tradeshows ever