Helen Lowe, Events and Marketing Manager at event furniture hire firm Europa International, talks to us about the importance of delivering a sustainable service in an increasingly environmentally conscious society.

Having operated in this wonderfully diverse and exciting industry for quite some time now – 57 years, to be exact – we’ve seen no end of ‘trends’ come and go. People are predictable in their unpredictability, it’s fair to say.

After all, who would have anticipated that Wasabi Peas would become a more popular bar snack than the humble salted peanut, or even pork scratchings! Whilst some such fads are just that…. fads, other changes end up standing the test of time because, well, they make sense.

One example is the increased pressure on businesses in the trade to ‘go green’. And by that I don’t mean from a branding perspective, although I like to think we were ahead of the curve on that one because it’s not a coincidence that our logo is Green, you know! (Ok, it is, I’ll confess. But I’m owning it). Actually though, I do of course mean delivering a sustainable service that minimises a company’s carbon footprint wherever possible. 

Many of you may also have found, as we have, that customers want to know what you’re up to, and that you’re taking the whole earth thing seriously! Only last month major brands such as Coca Cola and Nestle signed up to the UK’s plastic pact; and can you imagine the boycotting that would have been afoot had they not?

Similarly for us, operating in what is a pretty naughty industry when it comes to waste production and waste management, it has always been something we wanted to ‘get right’ before the horse had bolted, so to speak. Not because we had to like those big names, necessarily, but because we felt it was important.

Take for example our products, of which we have more than 30,000. That’s right, 30,000 items from bar stools to linking chairs, and display stands to panels –all of which we maintain to within an inch of their lives. We clean them, we preen them and we put them in protective wrap after each and every use.

That means they last longer you see, and we send less to the furniture scrap heap in the sky. Actually, if we can help it we don’t send anything at all to said scrap heap, because unless a table has come to an untimely end caused whilst bearing the weight of a misguided party goer delivering a particularly robust rendition of a Barbara Streisand classic, we either recycle, upcycle or donate everything we no longer need to a worthy cause.

Got a community hall in need of some padded chairs? We’re on it! Know a local charity in need of some new desks? Add ‘em to our list!

And for those eagle eyed readers now sat thinking ‘plastic wrap, on every item?’, fear not! We collect all of that potential waste, alongside any cardboard boxes, paper bags etc and put it all to good use.

Take our exhibition and event carpets, for example, which is melted down into pellets and turned into car dashboards by none other than our very own carpet supplier. Just imagine, your new little run-around could potentially contain what was once a fuchsia pink carpet that furnished a star studded bash. You never know!

Ultimately, this is one trend that is showing absolutely no sign of going away, and quite right I would say. Small changes have the potential to make big differences, and working together with suppliers who take it equally as seriously can help make bigger differences even quicker.

Of course, having said all of that, I must confess that we’re not as green as we are cabbage looking. When it comes to experience hiring out event furniture to venues of all shapes and sizes across the country we like to think we know our onions!