San Francisco Welcomes Conventions with Eco-Friendly Banners

Although it’s already a sustainable meeting destination, San Francisco just turned a new shade of green thanks to new welcome banners being used around Moscone Center, the San Francisco Travel Association announced this month.

Introduced in March, the new banners — an attendee welcome that’s installed during citywide conventions — are made of an environmentally friendly material called EkoFlex, instead of the standard PVC.

“San Francisco has always been a city of firsts when it comes to sustainability and now that extends to our city’s street banners,” Melanie Nutter, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, said in a statement. “I’m pleased to see the San Francisco Travel Association embrace our city’s goals of zero waste and toxics reduction by eliminating the use of PVC, a harmful and non-recyclable material.”

Added Craig Furst, president of AAA Flag & Banner Manufacturing, which makes the EkoFlex banners, “AAA Flag & Banner is focused on converting the current harmful type marketing materials to ones that create a win-win for both the stakeholders and the environment. Having best-in-class advertising and environmental responsibility are no longer mutually exclusive ideas. AAA and their clients are leading the way in walking the talk with sustainable advertising practices.”

While the banners themselves are environmentally friendly, an additional benefit is that the city is recycling and repurposing them. One company, for instance — San Francisco-based Rickshaw Bags — is turning them into bags.

“We have turned down countless well-meaning requests to make bags from reclaimed PVC banners,” says Rickshaw Bagworks founder and CEO Mark Dwight. “It is our belief that recycling merely masks the real challenge, which is to design PVC out of our waste stream. Rickshaw applauds AAA Flag & Banner for their commitment and leadership in sourcing, testing and promoting alternative materials for outdoor advertising, and we are delighted to see this grassroots effort taking root in San Francisco — a city that prides itself in taking a leadership role in environmental initiatives.”

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