3 Ways You Can Plan a Successful Eco-Friendly Event

May 30, 2016 - By: Sarah Hovis

Going ‘green’ seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. From using reusable bags when shopping and trading in bottled water for more sustainable options, every little bit helps. This is especially true in the meetings and events industry. According to a CrainsNewYork.com article article, sustainable conference and event advisors, MeetGreen says a typical five-day conference of 2,500 attendees will use 62,500 disposable plates, 87,500 napkins, 75,000 cups/glasses, and 90,000 cans/bottles. And that doesn’t include paper used for promotional materials, emissions from travel, and food waste. So, how can a meeting or conference be more eco-friendly? Start by focusing on these three areas.

        1. Planning
          When vetting a venue, ask questions: what sustainability practices do they have in place? Have they used green materials in their construction? What about lighting (LEED certification) and locally-sourced food? You can read more questions to ask here. Some hotels, like Starwood, will send you a Meeting Impact Report (MIR) post-event that recaps all the sustainable initiatives you employed and their impact.
        2. Communication and Signage
          We live in a digital world, so using electronic forms of communication in place of paper is an easy swap. When printing is absolutely necessary, use recycled paper or a tree-free alternative such as bamboo, print double-sided, and use a vegetable-based ink. By recycling name badges and plastic badge holders, planners can save up to $1,000 for a 1,500-attendee event.
        3. Catering
          Avoid waste by carefully planning food portions and donate leftovers to a local shelter or soup kitchen. You can also lower your carbon footprint by using non-disposable plates, flatware and linens, and bulk dispensers for condiments and beverages. Conserve water by not pre-filling water glasses at event luncheons. According to MeetGreen, after three luncheons for 2,200 attendees, you’ll save an estimated 520 gallons of water.

5 Eco-Friendly Venues to Check Out:

Tell us in the comments steps you’ve taken to make an event more ‘green.’