Conference giveaway items, useful or wasteful?
Conference giveaways have mirrored fast fashion where items are given out, but then generally discarded after a short period of time. Shirely (2014) says, “600,000 tons of trash are turned out every year by the 60 million people who attend tradeshows.” These giveaways are often counterproductive and do less good by wasting time, money and filling landfills with cheap tchotchkes (Robbins, 2016). However, these promotional event products are the main sustaining income for the event industry and have an estimated worth over $17 billion (McKinely, 2017). The purpose of this study is to better understand what the most useful giveaways are for the annual International Textiles Apparel Association (ITAA) conferences in order to better plan a sustainable conference regarding giveaways. McKinely (2017) suggests to prevent conference waste, organizers should first ask if the item is needed and remember to put the focus on those attending. By using a survey with past conference attendees, this study aims to fill a gap in knowledge for useful giveaways to prevent waste at future conferences.