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IMEX rolls out waste reduction campaign

IMEX rolls out waste reduction campaign

A campaign to reduce overall waste output from the IMEX in Frankfurt trade show, whether recyclable or not, has seen waste levels reduce significantly over the past 3 years. The total amount of waste generated went down from 167 tons in 2009 to 121 tons in 2011, a reduction of 28 percent.

As part of its commitment to improved environmental management and protection, IMEX organizers have worked closely with the management team at Messe Frankfurt to implement a series of waste reduction measures over the years. Year on year, IMEX has also set itself waste reduction targets in order to keep track of savings and provide an incentive for exhibitors, suppliers, and visitors to help its waste-reduction efforts.

Paper comprises a large percentage of the material that is recycled at each show. This year it accounted for 33 tons of all recycled material, a reduction of 7 tons on 2009. All paper is recycled into newspapers and used locally to produce the daily Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung (FAZ). Waste cardboard is used to produce cardboard boxes, with a large proportion being used by a local manufacturer to make shoeboxes.

Other residual waste, which includes those plastics that cannot be recycled, is incinerated to create energy that powers the local community within a 10 km radius. Nevertheless, this residual waste output has been reduced from 23 tons in 2009 to just 14 tons in 2011. In addition, catering suppliers at IMEX in Frankfurt do not use plastic cutlery or disposable plates, instead crockery and metal cutlery is washed and reused.

IMEX organizers also pay careful attention to minimizing food waste. Unopened, leftover food is distributed to local homeless networks and hospitals, while any opened and packaged food is composted locally.


The amount of wood waste has also decreased significantly from almost 5 tons to less than 1 ton. This is mainly the result of IMEX encouraging the reuse of delivery pallets rather than the disposal of them. Not only does this approach reduce total waste, it is also better for the environment and it reduces costs for exhibitors’ stand constructors.

Ray Bloom, IMEX Group Chairman commented: “The IMEX Group’s pledge is to be as sustainable as possible and this doesn’t just apply to our trade show days but to our office infrastructure and consumption habits all year round. Not only have we successfully reduced the amount of waste we generate by 46 tons since 2009, but, of that waste, a higher quantity than ever is now being recycled. IMEX is committed to educating the meeting, incentive travel, and events industry about sustainability issues so it is important that we also live these principles ourselves. Our intention both in Frankfurt, and also now in Las Vegas, is to develop productive, long-term relationships with suppliers, exhibitors, and visitors that support our sustainability efforts, which we consider a keystone in our strategy as a progressive organization.”

IMEX in Frankfurt celebrates its 10th anniversary next year and will be including a number of initiatives that look-back at the environmental progress that’s been made over the past decade.