A more circular approach to trade fairs and exhibitions

Designregio Kortrijk and Kortrijk Expo, together against waste!

Within the exhibition and fair sector there is still a major waste problem worldwide.

With the Fair Circulair project, Designregio Kortrijk and Kortrijk Xpo want to test, at a local level, a solution to drastically reduce and reuse the waste and used material left behind after an exhibition or fair.

Concretely, we want to investigate whether it is economically feasible to systematically put usable waste material at the temporary disposal of a creative community after certain exhibitions. For example, scenographers, designers, artists, schools, students, etc. can, for a limited period of time, view leftover and still usable wood, cardboard, furniture, etc. and, if so desired, take it with them to give it a second life.

In addition, we want to inspire and raise awareness about how things can be done differently and better by already anticipating the issues during the organisation of the fair. That is why we organised a series of exhibitions in the most sustainable way possible, as well as events on circularity and sustainability.

Designregio Kortrijk

Partners Kortrijk XPO





  1. At the end of a series of selected fairs in Kortrijk Xpo, we planned a time slot of two hours during which the (waste) materials left behind and still usable were made available to a creative and local community.
  2. To set a good example, we organised the Kortrijk Creativity Week as sustainably and circularly as possible. We made use of sustainable and modular scenographies, worked together with local partners and made visitors aware of the issues at stake.
  3. We created a circular exhibition design (only) out of recyclable cardboard for the exhibition WE ARE THE NEXT GENERATION 2020, which presented the next generation of designers.
  4. We organised the online inspiration event Creativity Streaming, where in three 30-minute sessions we talked to champions of the circular economy. Entrepreneurs, designers and students all had their say.


  1. When the project was launched, there was immediately a great deal of interest from various quarters: not only was the creative community from Kortrijk and beyond very enthusiastic, but suppliers to Kortrijk Xpo and exhibition and event organisers also contacted us.
  2. We noticed that over the past three years the exhibition and trade fair sector has been taking more and more steps in the right direction in terms of sustainability. This means it is time to shift our focus to sectors where there are even more opportunities, such as the business and event sector.
  3. Circular economy remains an abstract theme for many visitors and players in the sector, but there is a lot of curiosity about it. By means of concrete actions and initiatives, we can make the concept more and more tangible for a large public.
  4. It is essential that we continue to raise awareness and inspire different target groups.
476 Members Facebook group
4.700 visitors event 2019
1.400 visitors event 2020
355 reach online event 2021


We already have the ambition to continue with the Fair Circular facebook group.

The fair world itself has made great strides in the right direction in recent years. That is obviously very positive, but it also means that we should shift our focus to other sectors where there are even more opportunities. For example, via the Kortrijk platform DURF2030, we discovered the non-profit organisation Toestand, which had set up a similar project in Brussels, more focused on the socio-cultural sector: In Limbo. The plan is to set up a follow-up project for Fair Circular together, in which we shift the focus to companies and material reallocation via a digital tool in combination with a physical hub.