Why reducing and reusing is better than recycling

Is reducing and reusing really better than recycling?
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Below, we look at the logic behind reducing and reusing and we’ll also talk more about how we can apply this in the exhibition industry with marketing displays.

It’s a simple fact that recycling a product (although diverting it from landfill) still requires a significant amount of energy.

Yes, recycling a product uses less energy than creating it in the first place but this process still involves expending energy.

How much energy is saved recycling aluminium?

Recycling aluminium takes 95% less energy* than producing it from raw materials. The recycling process also generates only 5% of the greenhouse gas emissions.

One benefit of recycling aluminium is that it can be recycled several times and the quality does not degrade as easily as other non-recyclable materials such as plastic.

We then need to take into consideration the carbon cost of transporting the item to the recycling plant, as well as the shipping of the finished product back out to a customer. The carbon cost soon adds up.

The dreaded material we call plastic

Recycling aluminium is an easy one to review that has a positive recycling story, but what about the dreaded material we all know too well….plastic?!

A number of plastics can be recycled – mainly the soft plastics (polypropylene).

The more a plastic has been recycled the poorer the quality it gets, so its useful life is relatively short. As we are aware, plastic has received a lot of bad press recently. In fact, plastic is often being shipped around the world to be recycled, which never happens. The reality is all this plastic ends up in larger landfill sites, ruining eco-systems and endangering wildlife.

How to recycle sensibly

Don’t forget, as a business if you’re disposing of waste for recycling or for landfill, you have a duty of care to ensure the waste is going to reputable businesses with the correct licenses.

Just ask your supplier for a Chain of Custardy. This will tell you all the people that will be handling your waste from the transport to the processors.

So, as we can see although recycling a product is much better than sending it to landfill, we need to try to reuse and reduce in the first instance. This will reduce our impact on the environment and help to protect those precious marketing budgets too.

How can we reduce and reuse in the exhibition, events and displays industry?

Most banner stands are created to be used multiple times, especially portable displays as they can be easily packet away and transported. But how do we make them last even longer?

4 tips to help your display last longer

• Keep your design simple – Using a generic design means your marketing messages have a longer shelf life compared to displaying seasonal or one off messages.
 Take care of your display – When packing away your banner, gently roll the graphic back into the base. It seems like common sense, but handle your display with care, and your display will love you back!
• Maintain your display – Graphics can get dirty when left out for a long time. Cleaning graphics with a damp cloth normally does the trick. Or better still, pack away your display if you’re not using them in the first place.
• Update your graphics not your hardware – If your marketing messages change frequently, you can update the graphics without having to replace the hardware. This will save you time and money.

These may seem simple but follow these tips and they will help to ‘reduce and reuse’ your displays. We do expect banner stands to last up to 10 years.

Find out more about how to prolong the life of your display.

Upcycling old pull up banner stand examples

We have also worked with a very talented up-cycler, Kelly Ordemann from Made By Kelly O. An architect by day and a crafter by night, she specialises in turning plastic bags into unique pieces.

Kelly was happy to take up the challenge to see how she could convert an old banner graphic into something interesting.

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We are really pleased with the 2 pieces she created for us below! If you would like your old banner graphic turned into something lovely let us know.

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