Because of the expense, most end users of custom printed tents plan to use the structures for multiple events. “Many are transported around the country to various events, while others are used as more semipermanent structures at stadiums or parks for advertising and shelter,” says Jay Hoesli, graphics division manager for Anchor Industries.
But what happens to digitally printed tents that have shorter lifespans? “After the need for these branded items expires, the panels are typically destroyed,” says Alex Kouzmanoff, vice president of Aztec Tents. “Remember that many corporate branding promotions don’t live forever, as companies are constantly changing their branding ideas and directions.” To save materials from the landfill, Kouzmanoff recommends discussing the most appropriate printing method for a client’s event.
If companies choose not to reuse a graphically printed tent for other events, recycling is an option in some cases—though not necessarily an easy one, given the typical use of solvent inks and vinyl, both of which are consider pollutants. Damien Vieille of Vitabri recommends Texyloop®, a European recycling program managed by Ferrari Textiles that returns reusable and renewable raw materials to market. He also used to work for a company that manufactured artistic bags made of used printed vinyl. “This is just the beginning of a lot of different ideas that companies [will] have to give a second life to printed tents,” Vieille says.