Finding new uses for old plastic and creating a sustainable business
Plastic is increasingly hitting the headlines as a global waste headache, whether it’s clogging oceans or piling up in landfill. Ecobooth, a sustainable events company, wanted to reduce the huge amount of plastic waste produced by the events industry. We partnered with them to transform an innovative idea into a successful business.
Plastic waste is a global issue, that effects each of us. Solving the problem depends on finding new uses for old plastic by repurposing it. And that depends on technology and innovation.
It’s estimated the events industry alone created 100,000 tonnes of waste in 2018 – equivalent to 1.4 billion plastic bottles. The industry needs a new approach, fast.
A few years ago I was asked to create a 'sustainable event' by one of the world's largest banks in the form of a trade show booth and the truth is I didn't know where to begin. Little did I know at the time, but this question would take me on an 18-month journey, culminating in me realising the only way for me to genuinely provide any client with a sustainable event was to rip up the rule book and start all over again
founder of Ecobooth
That’s where Ecobooth come in. As the name suggests, Ecobooth turns waste plastic into booths and other equipment for live event activities, such as trade shows. Their products are 100 per cent recycled, and recyclable. The business also uses renewable energy across its operations and zero emission vehicles for deliveries and installations. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the industry, where even the most sustainable of existing trade show booths only achieve 40 per cent reusability.
Today, the events industry is dominated by large players who service global corporates at a premium, and cheap and flexible alternatives. But at either end of this spectrum, providers aren’t demonstrating a commitment to sustainability. Ecobooth founder, Nick Marks, recognised this.
tonnes of waste
from the events industry alone in 2018
of plastic waste
has never been recycled
single plastic bags
are distributed worldwide every minute
Nick had been working in the events industry for over a decade by this point. He wanted to find a truly sustainable solution and decided to free himself of the constraints that came with an established business and launch his own.
We helped Nick take his idea and design a business model for Ecobooth. We started by shaping the Ecobooth’s customer value proposition, go-to-market approach and provide sustainability expertise to develop the brand.
PA provided the level of expertise I needed to understand the types of materials and machinery needed to launch the business. And people have started to take notice and are seeking new ways of doing business in a sustainable way. I’m proud we’ve been able to respond in a truly innovative way
founder of Ecobooth
Our technology experts researched, analysed and identified potential materials, manufacturing technologies and certification approaches. This included evaluating additive printing capabilities at our Global Innovation and Technology Centre, which allowed Ecobooth to evaluate how the technology could reduce production costs and reduce waste. We then helped link choices on certification, materials and technologies back to a deeper understanding of the customer value proposition.
Now, Ecobooth combines shredding, compounding and extrusion with pressing, moulding and vacuum technologies to develop its products.
Launched business in
PA booth seen by
Not only did we provide diverse expertise, we were Ecobooth’s very first customer. We believe sustainability is a necessity for creating a positive human future. It brings significant benefits to the environment, people and businesses. So, we asked Ecobooth to create a stand we could reuse at a number of our upcoming events. The Ecobooth team designed us a stand using a variety of recycled materials, including toothbrushes, plastic bottles and traffic cones.
We premiered the stand at the Disruption Summit Europe – our event with thought leadership community Disruption – and we’ve since taken it to numerous events, where it’s been seen by over 1,000 people.
At PA we’re committed to the circular economy. Our stand will be reused and ultimately go back and be recycled and produce another stand. Ecobooth is a great example of how thinking in a different way, a more sustainable way, can create commercial value, environmental value and bring benefits to society and customers.
PA circular economy expert
Being part of the CE100 and the UNGlobal Compact, we’re best placed to help business drive towards a more sustainable future. We’ve advised Ecobooth and other businesses like Skipping Rocks Lab, on the opportunities in the growing circular economy, which extracts more value from materials by recovering, refurbishing and re-using them.
Today, Ecobooth has eight full-time employees. In less than a year, the business has transformed from an idea to a fully-operational organisation. With more hires to come and a growing list of clients, from fashion brands to not-for-profits, we’re excited to see what comes next.