Proof That Anything Can Be Recycled

Drive around any big city when a large group is in town, and chances are the light poles in the convention district will be adorned with banners welcoming the organization and its delegates. But what happens to those banners when all the participants go home? In Denver, the banners are turned into tote bags.

"We have welcome banners produced for all of our citywide conventions," says Theresa Blankenau, CMP, convention services manager for Visit Denver, the city's destination marketing organization. "We hated to see the banners go into the landfill after being hung for a short time, and were wanting to do something to minimize our footprint. I had seen an article about Mission Wear, which was already doing just that with other banners in the city. We thought it would be a great way to thank our clients and their staff, while helping a nonprofit in the community."

Since spring 2009, Visit Denver has been working with Mission Wear to convert the pole banners into tote bags and sending them to organizers of citywides (defined as any group using more than three hotels and the Colorado Convention Center). Mission Wear uses the leftover banners, minus the group's logo, for other projects.

"Our Tourism Department also has tote bags made from banners promoting local events to give to travel planners," says Blankenau.

There is no set limit for how many bags are made. Suzette Eaddy, CMP, director of conferences for the National Minority Supplier Development Council in New York City, received one of the lamp-pole signs autographed by everyone at the CVB and 10 very sturdy tote bags approximately 16 x 14 x 5 inches. "Our staff loves them," says Eaddy, who was pleasantly surprised to open the the box. The bags sport the organization's 40th-anniversary logo and the Denver skyline; the group gathered in Denver last October.