Exhibitions are an important event in the calendar of most businesses, but how do you ensure your exhibition stand isn’t damaging the environment – and your reputation? It is not uncommon for companies to build bespoke stands for each and every event, but in recent times there is a growing trend towards reusable stands which not only lessens waste but also sees a reduction in stand design, production and time!

Exhibitions are an important event in the calendar of most businesses, but how do you ensure your exhibition stand isn’t damaging the environment – and your reputation? It is not uncommon for companies to build bespoke stands for each and every event, but in recent times there is a growing trend towards reusable stands which not only lessens waste but also sees a reduction in stand design, production and time!

At this year’s VM & Display Show at London’s Business Design Centre, Antalis’ stand, named ‘Sustainable Street’, demonstrated how, with the right products and know-how, every element of exhibition stands, from the structural to the decorative, can be made using sustainable substrates from within their product portfolio. Let's take a look at how you, too, can create eco-friendly exhibition stands that invite and excite! 


The challenge: how do you create a visually appealing stand which draws in visitors, but is also sustainable?

Planning your exhibition stand

According to Antalis’ Specification Consultant, Claire White, research, knowledge and planning are vital when devising a sustainable exhibition stand.

“Designing and producing a sustainable exhibition stand is about much more than what is visually delivered – sustainability has to be considered and reviewed at every single stage of the project.”

Claire White,  Antalis’ Specification Consultant

Most companies, large and small, now have a set of sustainability goals that they’re working towards. It’s important, therefore, that any event or exhibition you’re organising fully supports these ambitions. Including sustainability into your exhibition brief right at the beginning will ensure you will be able to deliver your stand not just from a visual and practical perspective, but from an all-important environmental perspective too.

Designing your exhibition stand

When it comes to designing an exhibition stand, it’s important to consider every aspect of what is needed to deliver the concept. The goal is to deliver an impactful and inviting space, whilst limiting the amount of material going to landfill or incineration. It’s important to engage with a knowledgeable print supplier, who can offer recycled, recyclable or reusable materials, at the beginning of the project.

A study conducted by Ecobooth found that 100,000 tonnes of waste were burnt or sentd to landfill from the UK events industry in one year alone! Consider the waste and recycling facilities available at the exhibition venue, as this can also help guide your choice of materials for the best stand with minimal environmental impact.


exhibition stand components using Xanita

Xanita used for VM & Display exhibition

Antalis looked to Imageco to produce their stand design for 2022’s VM & Display Show. Imageco are wide-format print and signage specialists with extensive experience in designing exhibition stands, and a focus on innovation and sustainability. Given their wealth of experience in cardboard engineering, particularly with Xanita fibreboard, Antalis collaborated with them with confidence, as Xanita was to be the primary material used in the manufacture of the stand. Imageco’s structural designer carefully calculated each element when creating the plans, ensuring the stand would be attractive, safe and structurally sound and, importantly, sustainable.


Managing Director of Imageco, Nathan Swinson-Bullough, offers this advice to anyone seeking to produce a sustainable exhibition stand.


“My advice would be to look no further than Xanita, it is the perfect material for building short-term stands; it has the strength to build large structures, is easy to work with, and is lightweight and recyclable. The only catch is you need the design skill and equipment to work with it. We are perfectly set up for this at Imageco and offer full service solutions, from creative design to build and install.”

Managing Director of Imageco, Nathan Swinson-Bullough

Selecting the materials


Stand structure

Antalis’ VM & Display Show stand was created in the form of a shop, replicating a typical layout you might find in a retail environment. The entire stand structure, and all internal furniture was constructed entirely from Xanita board in a variety of thicknesses and finishes. This sustainable fibreboard has a closed cell core, which makes it perfect for structural concepts such as exhibition and event stands, internal furniture, and 3D displays. It is a great alternative to other, less environmentally-friendly materials such as MDF.  What’s more, Xanita fabrications are reusable enabling you to plan several exhibitions using the same stand. Once you’re finished it’s 100% recyclable, so there’s no waste!

Sustainable Street exhibition standd

Xanita Recycled Kraft Core

Stand graphics and props 

Decorative barrels, logs and other oversized props, such as a bicycle propped up against one of the outside walls, were constructed using Xanita board, demonstrating the product’s beauty and versatility. 200 individual pieces were cut and assembled to make the life-sized bicycle, which proved to be a star of the stand.

The stand was brought to life by the inclusion of a variety of details replicating objects that might be found in a retail environment, such as hanging graphics and a table-top display unit in the shape of a three-tiered cake stand. These were created using a number of sustainable Antalis materials such as, Katz Display board, Dispa, Coala Air board and Triaprint. 

Xanita bicycle

Canvasses made from DISPA

Foliage decorations were produced using Dispa; a sign and display board with a flat, smooth and bright white print surface. Fully recyclable and made from made from 5 layers of FSC certified paper, Dispa's unique embossed core provides rigidity and stability. Framed canvases were also incorporated, using Ecotex Decoflex R, a PVC-free polyester textile made of 100% recycled yarns, which is also 100% recyclable. Used in conjunction with Easitex frames, the textile requires no silicon edge, therefore it is more environmentally friendly and requires no finishing in the production phase, equating to a reduction in lead time and cost, and making textiles lighter in weight for transportation. 

Foliage made from DISPA

Easitex Frame

Claire’s advice for exhibition stand design:


“There’s a lot of greenwashing out there – do your research and always question a product’s provenance and recyclability. At Antalis, our Green Star System™ has been devised to help customers identify the environmental credentials of products in our portfolio. Use it as a guide when deciding the suitability of materials for creating a sustainable exhibition stand – or for any other project!” 

Claire White,  Antalis’ Specification Consultant

Antalis’ Green Star System™ rates every material across its portfolio based on how it is manufactured and how easy it is to recycle at the end of its life. This helps provide designers, printers and end users with insight into a product’s environmental credentials, which can be invaluable when considering choice of materials.

Antalis also provides the option to engage with its Specification Consultants, who offer support and advice when selecting materials to align with business or project goals. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, they can recommend materials that will help you achieve the very best results for your creative brief.


Stand assembly and break-down

Assembly of a traditional bespoke exhibition stand constructed from materials such as MDF, can often take two days to complete. Antalis’ Sustainable Street took just half a day to assemble! Break-down of the stand at the end of the exhibition was equally quick, and all the materials could be either recycled or, where possible, salvaged and re-used. Antalis are pleased to share that their ‘Sustainable Street’ stand, produced by Imageco, has been entered into the World Exhibition Awards and the UK Graphic Awards. The stand itself has been transported to Antalis’ Leeds depot and now features as part of their new showroom.


Support and advice

For advice and guidance in selecting sustainable materials for your next exhibition stand, whether you’re producing it for your business or for a client, contact the Antalis Visual Communications team. We’ll be happy to help you select the most suitable and sustainable materials for the job in hand, and we can also put you in touch with printers and stand designers with sustainable stand design know-how. Contact us today!