Here are some ideas to integrate “green” thoughts into your events! If the idea of “greening” your event sounds overwhelming, just choose one or two things to change. Every little change can make a difference!!
- Put It In Writing – Develop an environmental policy for your meetings or event, and communicate it to your co-workers. Share this policy with your vendors, guest speakers, and your guests.
- Use Paperless Technology – Take advantage of current technology to cut down on paper use. Offer electronic registration and confirmation, have your promotional brochure available online, advertise online and through email. Make presentation handouts available on-line, send them electronically after the meeting, or copy them onto jump drives to distribute.
- Recycled Printed Material – If going paperless doesn’t work for your meeting, then try to use recycled paper and print on both sides.
- Bulk-Up – Ask your vendor or caterer to use bulk dispensers where ever possible (sugar, creamer, condiments etc.) and to use recyclable utensils, linens, and food/beverage containers. Think about all of that coffee bar waste that will be reduced!
- Order Food and Drinks Wisely – Ask your guests to RSVP, and base the food order on the number of guests you expect. Replace bottled water with pitchers of water with washable or recyclable cups. Avoid “Styrofoam”—it cannot be recycled easily. Request that your caterer use platters and serving utensils that can be reused. Or, save the platters and utensils for your office’s coffee station and potluck events.
- Up-To-Date Mailing List – Reduce duplicate mailings by asking recipients to contact you if they no longer want to receive your mailings or if their address or contact information has changed. Having up-to-date mailing lists save printing and mailing costs as well as reduces recycling needs.
- Re-usable Nametags and Signs – Use nametags in re-usable holders. Be sure to have a collection box so attendees can leave their nametags after the meeting. Use reusable or recyclable signs to direct people to appropriate meeting rooms.
- Giveaway Items – If you are going to give away promotional items to attendees, consider purchasing useful items that are made from recycled materials. Also consider promotional items that are energy-efficient and do not contain toxic material. Many promotional materials companies have a variety of such products to choose from!
- Buy Locally – Purchasing locally grown food decreases greenhouse gas emissions because the food is transported over a shorter distance. Sourcing local food for events also supports the local economy. There are caterers available that have very green practices. In order to reduce waste, donate leftovers to a local shelter or send them home with staff or meeting attendees.
- Share – Share your green practices with attendees! Not only does sharing this information demonstrate your commitment to greening your events, but it also raises awareness. Attendees will share this information and become aware of the green choices available next time they plan an event.
Thanks for thinking about “greening” your event! Remember, by having your event at the Environmental and Heritage Center, you already took a huge step to green your event!