Guide to waste prevention

A trade fair presence is a valuable stage for your business model. However, a lot of waste is produced as a side effect, which consumes natural resources and impacts the climate. Together we can avoid large amounts of waste.

Waste is produced before, during and after the trade fair. To reduce the amount of waste you produce, it is crucial to consider important factors as early as possible in the planning stage. This guide will show you how to avoid waste through careful design and planning. This is necessary in order to achieve two key sustainability goals: Conserving resources and reducing CO₂ emissions. As a company, we are obliged to do this by current and future regulations.

Your contributions to these two sustainability goals may be relevant for the reduction targets of your company’s CSRD report and for your ISO certification for Sustainable Event Management (ISO 20121). Particular achievements in terms of reduction are also an excellent topic for your sustainability communication.

With this guide, we would like to create a framework for your trade fair presence that will help you to implement your own sustainability efforts in the best possible way.

If you require assistance with any of the following points, for example in finding tried and tested local service partners, please contact our Technical Exhibitor Service. We would be happy to help you!


Most waste is produced when a stand is only used once and then disposed of. Chipboard, wood, drywall panels, carpets, display elements, metal, plastic and other materials are lost as a result.

Trade fair stand

  • Plan and design your presence in such a way that all or most of your stand can be reused. This is by far the biggest contribution to waste prevention.
  • A modular design that can be dismantled is very helpful here. Reusable stand construction systems and modular stand concepts can achieve this perfectly. Multiple usage means that the material remains in use for longer. Single-origin materials can then be returned to the material cycle. This avoids waste caused by using disposable materials.
  • Modularity and reuse can also result in cost benefits for you.

Transport & efficiency

  • Talk to your stand builder at an early stage about adapting your stand to the criteria in this guide.
  • A modular stand that can be dismantled and adapted to different conditions is more economical in the long term than a stand that can only be used once.
  • Thanks to its smaller volume, a well thought-out design can also be transported more efficiently and loaded and unloaded more easily, thus saving time during assembly.

Single-origin materials

  • Plan the exhibition stand so that all materials can be separated by type.
  • Painted wood, chipboard and drywall elements are no longer recyclable. Pure elements can be easily recycled, while mixed materials can usually only be incinerated.
  • Also ensure that the packaging material for transporting the stand is kept to a minimum and is reusable. If it has to be disposed of, it should consist of recyclates and be able to be separated by type if possible. After a longer period of use, the material remains in the cycle and does not become waste.

Stand construction

  • If possible, work together with a local stand builder. This reduces transportation distances and packaging costs.
  • If you have your own planner or stand builder, please ask them to contact our Technical Exhibitor Service to avoid waste at the planning stage.

When equipping your stand, choose elements and furniture that you can use several times.

Storage and materials

  • Store the equipment as locally as possible to reduce transportation and packaging costs.
  • Ask your stand builder about alternative flooring concepts that save material.
  • If you need a floor finish, give preference to reusable solutions such as carpet tiles or laminate.
  • If reusable flooring is not available, choose a single-origin product so that recycling is easy and efficient.

Rental furniture

  • Rent furniture and other furnishings from local partners.
  • This reduces costs, avoids large quantities of waste and gives you the opportunity to adapt your equipment to current developments.
  • You can find our service partners for stand equipment here.


Avoid promotional materials without a real function, as these are quickly thrown away. They therefore contribute to the generation of waste and the unnecessary consumption of resources.

advertising materials

  • Avoiding disposable promotional items can have a positive effect on your brand image.
  • If you opt for giveaways, then choose ones that have a long-term benefit and will remain in use for a long time.
  • Choose giveaways that are made from a single-origin material and preferably from recycled materials. The use of recyclates is a clear advantage, as less new material is used. Single-origin objects can be recycled at the end of their useful life.

Replace printed material with digital media wherever possible. Print materials are often produced in excessive quantities and then disposed of.

Digital media

  • Digital media (e.g. via QR codes) are more flexible, cheaper and can be easily updated.
  • Equipment that you rent on site requires little packaging and logistics effort, and is often reused. This also reduces waste.

Avoid wasting food.


  • Talk to your caterer or the local caterer at an early stage about the food on offer and the corresponding logistics in order to optimize delivery quantities and delivery times so that as little food as possible has to be disposed of.
  • Choose regional and seasonal products when placing your order.
  • Local caterers have their own kitchens and can therefore provide food in line with demand. Food can also be adequately cooled, stored and prepared. This can offer decisive advantages when it comes to avoiding food waste.
  • You can find our local catering and event service partners here.

Please refrain from using disposable products. Disposable dishes and cutlery are prohibited by the state capital of Munich.

Dishes and cutlery

  • If you use external suppliers for food and beverage, please clearly indicate the ban on disposable items.
  • Local caterers offer high-quality and appealing reusable solutions from which your trade fair presentation can also benefit.
  • Inform your set-up and dismantling team that disposable packaging from delivery services is also not permitted at Messe München.

Collect returnable bottles and encourage your guests to take advantage of the deposit system.


  • Returnable bottles and deposit offers from local caterers contain valuable raw materials that can often be reused. Collecting and reusing them saves considerable amounts of waste.


Waste is unavoidable when dismantling an exhibition stand. But simply by sorting, most waste can be recycled.


  • Coordinate with your service partners in good time about the efficient dismantling of your stand and inform them about the rules for waste disposal.
  • Please separate your waste by type. Doing so enables the recycling of metals; wood and chipboard (not painted); paper and cardboard; drywall elements (not painted); packaging film and other plastics; and glass.
  • Stack wood outside of the escape/rescue routes.
  • Dispose of residual waste in the containers.
  • Do not throw paint buckets and paint cans into the containers. These can be disposed of at the designated locations.

The waste flat rate covers the costs of waste generated during the trade fair, but not the disposal of the exhibition stand or waste from machine demonstrations.

Waste disposal

  • Discuss with your service providers clearly about the disposal of your exhibition stand.
  • For waste from machine demonstrations and other possible waste, please contact our Technical Exhibitor Service.

Download a brief overview of the most important points on waste prevention in practical PDF format here. Then you will always have it to hand.

For further information and questions, please contact us by e-mail:

We live sustainability for ourselves and our customers and actively promote it at our events.

As a cooperation partner, ecosign institut provided us with advice and expertise during the creation of the guidelines. We would also like to thank all customers and service providers who have worked in partnership with us to create this guide.

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