The Importance of Creating Sustainability in Events

Imageco MD, Nathan Swinson Bullough, joins us to share his thoughts on how we can create more sustainable events, one print at a time. 

 

Events are notorious for waste. Every year, British festivals alone create 23,500 tons of waste. Once the events are over, all the branding, graphics and wayfinding assets often make their way into the bin and eventually, to landfill sites. But there is hope for the events industry! At Imageco, sustainability and recyclability are always at the forefront of our design process. So, when we choose our materials for event printing, we always consider where they will end up.

Materials

The best place to start with sustainability is materials, for us at outdoor events, we would use fully recyclable Polypropylene. This material gives all the benefits of traditional event stand materials, including being waterproof, sturdy, and easy to work with, but with the added bonus of being recyclable. Some amazing recycling facilities across the UK take the bulk waste of Polypropylene and give it a new lease of life. It’s great because Polypropylene can be recycled even if it’s dirty, weathered or printed on. We couple Polypropylene with our HP Latex printer that produces water-based, non-toxic, yet vibrant wide-format print on roll media.

Another great material we use is cardboard. Although putting cardboard outside might seem a little counterintuitive, many cardboard products can be designed for outdoor use with coatings to protect them from the elements (no soggy cardboard here). Cardboard engineering provides the perfect solution as it’s capable of being built into complex figures and designs.

Indoor events are, of course, much easier to produce print for. Xanita Board is our go-to product for most indoor interior event builds. It’s a sustainable fibre board which is 100% reputable, ultra-lightweight and stronger than traditional fibre board. With this product, we’ve demonstrated what can be done with clever engineering in some of our previous projects. The Xanita Board can also be used outside – if the British weather behaves itself! When we work with Xanita, we use bolts to fasten it together, and once the events are over, we strip the Xanita back, take out the bolts, and then put it in our card skip ready to be recycled. We have large recycling containers back at Imageco HQ so we can make sure stuff is disposed of correctly. When working on large-scale events, partnerships with waste removal services are vital to ensure that the waste is treated correctly.

Sustainable Printing

At Imageco, we use HP Latex 570 and EFI Vutek 3250 Lx Pro printers to produce our large-format work. Our state-of-the-art equipment enables us to print on rigid and roll materials whilst simultaneously producing photographic quality prints. Our HP Latex machines use water-based ink whilst still providing high-quality prints. The ink formula is combined with wetting agents and humectants. These are great to print for short-term Polypropylene displays. The HP Latex Inks also achieve GREENGUARD Gold Certification at the unrestricted level.

We use our EFI printer, which can print onto a wide range of substrates, including heat-sensitive materials. This machine enables us to achieve near photographic quality at super high speeds. The EFI printer reduces reprint waste through its colour accuracy and repeatability.

  

The Design Process

Our talented designers and innovative team push creative boundaries and can transform a concept into outstanding designs that have a serious impact. We work with renowned design agencies and brands to bring their initial design from concept to completion, supporting them throughout their creative process. We initially look at client budgets and work back from there – providing the graphics are fit for purpose, eye-catching and as sustainable as possible. As I mentioned earlier, sustainability starts with design here at Imageco. We try to design everything with minimal contamination of materials and multiple substrates.  

 

It’s important to have flexibility when it comes to events. Most of the time, graphics are required quickly with very short turnaround times, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be made a little greener. 

  

Events don’t have to be wasteful, if managed properly and thought about, they can be waste free!

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