How to Make Events More Eco-Friendly
ESG | Posted: 11.15.2016
Everyone needs to do their share in saving the planet, and within the event industry, there is a unique opportunity to do so. While things are looking bleak right now — we just ended a 16-month streak of the hottest months in history this past September, the bees are dying, the Great Barrier Reef is dying, politicians somehow still think fracking is a good idea, and there is a 7 million ton pile of garbage sitting in the Pacific Ocean — there are quantifiable actions we can take to contribute to the well being of this planet.
As it currently stands, the sheer nature of large-scale events does not lend itself to environmental friendliness. Between invitations, brochures, food waste, one-use event sets, packing materials, and event swag, events can be disastrous for our environment. However, there is so much that we as event professionals can do to reduce our carbon footprint, cut down on waste, and be green, global citizens without compromising the wow factor of our events.
- Do zero waste
Research Zero Waste initiatives in your area as a way to directly cut down on the amount of waste that ends up in landfills at your event. By outlining your main waste concerns prior to the event, informing attendees of your goals, and setting up designated waste baskets for Recycling, Composting, and Trash, you can dramatically decrease the volume of trash that ends up in a landfill. Hiring green organizations to manage waste receptacles can help you make your environmentally friendly event a success.
- Go paperless!
By utilizing apps for event logistics rather than printing agendas, pamphlets, folders and name tags, not only do you save trees, you also save money. Ink and high quality paper add up exponentially, especially for events with large attendance– for items that often end up in the trash immediately following the event anyway.
- Share the extra food
Donate unused food from your event as a way to not only cut back on waste, but also benefit the community in which your event is being held. Plan ahead and write into the event contract that all unserved food must be donated to a local organization against hunger. After that is taken care of, research local food rescuing agencies beforehand to plan for how the food will be transported after the event is over. It’s a win/win!
- Rethink your event swag bags
Instead of giving participants water bottles or drink coozies or mouse pads with your logo that they may never use and/or throw away, think about giving virtual swag bags away with redeemable coupons, promotional codes, and online gift cards for your attendees. This will cut down on environmental waste, and also can serve as a way to track demographics of your event online.
What would you add to this list?