Green trade show industry grows in Oregon, beyond
By Drew Dakessian, Sustainable Business Oregon intern
Greenspace's work for Keen Inc. has garnered national attention and is a prime example of a growing interest in more sustainable trade show exhibits. Click on the image to see more examples.
According to Davidson, recyclable materials don’t always end up being recycled and the recycling process requires useful resources and energy.
Instead, Davidson champions materials that can break down naturally, including soy glue, bamboo, the recycled material panel known as kirei board and eco resin.
“The main differentiator of our product is that it’s 99 percent biodegradable, so it’s truly green,” said Davidson.
Recycled fiber tubes, made with potato starch glue, are the hallmark of Boothster.
Davidson likened the Boothster design concept to Tinker Toys: Fiber tubes can be grouped together to create a surface, or connected horizontally to create makeshift walls.
“It’s also easier to set up because there are no tools required,” he said. “It’s lighter weight and it ships down more compact.”
Boothster is a small firm, employing as few as four workers during the off seasons of the trade show industry — summer and winter — and some people 12 during spring and fall. Its client list includes the U.S. Forest Service, Johnson & Johnson and Google.
Positioned for growth
By all accounts, the market for sustainable trade show exhibits is booming in Oregon.
Davidson said that Boothster grew 30 percent last year and 23 percent so far this year.
Roth estimated that Greenspace had 100 percent growth two years ago and 60 percent last year, and will most likely grow 30 percent growth this year.
“We’re positioned in the right state with the right group of clients for growth,” said Roth.
Like many industries, the sustainable trade show game in Oregon benefits from the state's green reputation.
“Oregon is not by any means doing a large volume of exhibiting,” said Davidson, “but there are plenty of Oregon companies that go to trade shows in Las Vegas.”
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