Built Elements

Sustainable materials are only as sustainable as their onward life management.

In our efforts to produce sustainable events we often jump straight to sourcing ‘sustainable materials’, but part of what makes something sustainable is how it’s managed.

A recyclable materials needs a recycling stream and a waste management contractor to ensure its recycled.

Despite common thought, it is in fact better to use a recyclable plastic based material that is curb-side recyclable, than an ‘eco-material’ that requires a specialist waste management service that isn’t available.

One of the best ways to ascertain the true sustainability of our sets and built elements is to challenge ourselves and our suppliers:

‘Tell me how this is sustainable without using the word sustainable’.

It will rapidly become obvious who knows their onions and who is just using marketing speak.

However, the most sustainable solution is simply to design out single-use sets. Designing for longevity, or with reused assets, is the most effective place to start designing truly sustainable sets.

& Plans

What we can do...

1. Look ahead and design out single use

Look at what’s coming up in the calendar. Is there more than one event that could use the same set design or material components?

Understanding how and where components can be reused means these don’t end up in landfill and save on resources, which is both an environmental and economic saving.

2. From recycled to recycled

Opt for products made from recycled materials that can also be recycled in common curbside recycling.

This increases the likelihood that goods will be efficiently managed as well as ensuring that virgin materials weren’t use in the first place.

3. Design for disassembly

If a built asset doesn’t have an onward use and is going to be single-use, design for disassembly.

This make it easier for component parts to be repurposed or recycled, rather than binned.

We already do this with stock flats for walling and simple set builds. How can your event translate this practice to all built elements?

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