Sustainability Waste solutions

How to exhibit sustainably

Sunday, 1 December 2019

How to exhibit sustainably is an invitation in working together towards a sustainable event. This overview contains 5 sections with information and actions you can take every step of the way.

Choose sustainable products and services

RAI Amsterdam strives to offer an assortment of products that are sustainable and responsible. As these products range from carpet to catering and from furniture to hostesses, it is quite a complex task to improve sustainability across the board. Nonetheless, an sustainable alternative is available for almost every of our products and services.

Make an informed choice: in the exhibitor services webshop all sustainable products in the range are labelled with a green tick. These are products and services which contribute to enabling or preserving a sustainable future for all of us.

1. Preshow decisions

At the start of the show, think about the type of waste you may generate and how you can limit this amount. For example ask yourself these questions...

Promotional materials

Organising a get-together? Choose the sustainable and responsible option. In partnership with RAI Exhibitor Services, RAI Amsterdam offers a wide range of responsible catering options suited to your wishes. Try to avoid single-use plastic cups, cutlery and drinking straws: there are sustainable options available. Avoid using disposables and if you do use biodegradables.

Ask your team to bring their reusable water bottles and coffee cups.

Promotional materials

  • Can we use digital options instead of bringing printed materials?
  • And if we do, do we need a lot of brochures or can we just bring a few?
  • Are giveaways or goody bags really necessary? Do we expect them to outlast the show?


  • Can we print on post-consumer recycled paper using vegetable-based inks?
  • Can we make all printed materials timeless (not date-specific) so they can be reused?

Packing and shipping

  • Can we work with local suppliers?
  • Can we use recyclable packaging?
  • Can we ship using methods that save money or reduce our carbon footprint?

A sustainable stand

  • Is it possible to opt for a uniform stand construction? Such stands are more sustainable because they are reused.
  • If we choose for our own stand, do we have the possibility to store it somewhere? If possible, consider the option to buy a stand that you can reuse across several years?
  • Can we bring energy-efficient equipment? The more economical a device, the less power it consumes.
  • Can we use LED lights?
  • Do we need power? Think about whether day and night power are really necessary.

RAI Amsterdam offers day and night connections which eliminate the need for a stand to be connected to a continuous power supply. In the evenings, the electricity is turned off after a show is over unless you order overnight power. This can make a substantial difference in terms of standby consumption and reduce your energy bill in addition to being good for the environment?

2. Responsible travel options

Choose sustainable transport to and from the RAI Amsterdam

By air Schiphol, the sustainable airport of the Netherlands, is located just ten minutes from the RAI, and its partner KLM offers CO2-neutral flights to and from Amsterdam.

By taxi choose an electric taxi. You can ask specifically for one, or call Taxi Electric, a taxi company that only uses electric taxis and therefore generates less CO2 and fine particulate emissions. Another great thing about Taxi Electric is its social policy, actively recruiting drivers among people above the age of 50.

Click here to for more information about Taxi Electric.

By public transport RAI Amsterdam can be reached easily, quickly and in a sustainable way by public transport. RAI Amsterdam has its own train station, tram stop and subway station, and encourages visitors to use public transport whenever possible. All public transport to and from the complex runs on green power.

By bike visitors arriving by public transport can make use of public transport bicycles at the RAI railway station. These bikes can be hired for very reasonable prices and provide a fun and handy way to explore the city of Amsterdam after a visit to the RAI. Active travelers have access to bicycle parking facilities at the complex and the RAI is working on offering charging stations for e-bikes and e-scooters.

By car check if you can car pool with your colleagues. Electric cars are welcome at the RAI, which provides several charging stations in its parking garages.

Click here to plan your green route.

3. Responsible build-up and breakdown

A few things to keep in mind:


  • Safety has the utmost importance during the build-up and breakdown of an exhibition – please have a good look at the safety regulations before taking part in an exhibition at the RAI.
  • Avoid manual unloading: working with forklifts is faster and safer.


  • Safety has the utmost importance during the build-up and breakdown of an exhibition – please have a good look at the safety regulations before taking part in an exhibition at the RAI.
  • Avoid manual unloading: working with forklifts is faster and safer.
  • P4 has a vertical clearance of 2.70 m (the other garages have 1.90), making it safe and comfortable for vans to park.
  • RAI Amsterdam is located in the middle of the city of Amsterdam. To minimise any nuisance to the surrounding neighbourhood, the RAI requests that all exhibitors inform the organisers and the RAI itself about their trip to the complex. Be prepared to make choices based on logistics possibilities to ensure that transport to and from the exhibition is as quick, efficient and responsible as possible.
  • Avoid rush hour times (07:00-09:00).


We strive toward 100% recycling in out waste management during the build-up, event and breakdown. Please check with the organisers at an early stage about the rules regarding waste on the exhibition floor to help ensure that the waste process runs as smoothly as possible.

Things to keep in mind at all times:

  • Keep aisles free and clean: this will allow the build-up and breakdown to proceed as quickly as possible and facilitate the allocation of waste, improving the waste separation percentage.
  • Prevent the accumulation of waste: a rubbish bag carelessly left in a place where it does not belong may encourage others to add their bags to it. Piles of rubbish are considered to be 100% residual waste.

RAI Amsterdam offers solutions for all types of waste and for all amounts imaginable. The RAI’s partner Renewi supports this by distributing sorting bins, bags and boxes, and using visually distinctive methods for each type of waste in order to stimulate separation. During events, Renewi leads the waste streams where they belong. Renewi environmental controllers walking around the exhibition floor can advise you on how best to have waste removed.

4. During the show

Educate and inspire others.

An event is an excellent place to inspire others and work together on a sustainable future. The meetings that take place at an event can contribute to sustainable growth and the development of people, markets and the environment. Take a moment to consider how you can play a part.

For instance, think about:

  • What is your purpose?
  • Which sustainable, responsible options and knowledge can you share?
  • With which sustainable and responsible possibilities can you inspire others?

Make these possibilities visible – dare2share!

  • With which sustainability issues are you dealing yourself? Share them with the organisers before the event (maybe they can highlight them) and see if you can find valuable meetings at the event that can help you solve the issues.


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