Tips for a Green Event
- Incorporate "Green Thinking" in the planning process.
- When working with an event planning agency or conference location, clarify your priorities.
- Pick a location with as much natural light as possible.
- Work with the facility to minimize energy use.
- Invitations: pick avenues that get to many people, such as emails, website, social networking sites, and PSA's.
- When necessary to use the mail, use postcards.
- Offer online registration and information.
- Rent and borrow items that you use infrequently.
- Determine ways to generate the least amount of waste.
- Choose a hotel that offers a linen reuse program and bulk dispensers for shampoos and soaps in guest suites.
- If participants are coming from out of town, suggest off-site activities that are nature-based with minimal impact to the local environment.
- People who recycle at home and at work look for recycling bins wherever they go.
- Make recycling containers visually available.
- The placement, number and signage are all important for success.
- Placement next to the trash doubles the chance that the correct receptacle will be used.
- General Guidelines: 1 recycling station for each 200 people; Waste and recycling station should be available every 150 feet.
- Instead of printing handouts and proceedings, use CDs or flash drives to store meeting / conference information and distribute them to attendees or delegates.
- Encourage presenters to send information to organizing committee so that it can also be put on the flash drive or to have a one-page handout with phone numbers and /or web addresses of materials.
- When printed materials cannot be avoided, print on both sides of the paper.
- When planning annual conventions, choose items that can be used more than once, such as badge holders and signs with non-event-specific verbiage.
- A casual dress code ensures that clothing will not need to be dry cleaned or the temperature adjusted to accommodate suits.
- Pick a location where public transportation is available and/or taxis can be shared.
- Promotional materials should be appropriate and useful for the attendees.
- Choose promotional materials that are durable and reusable.
- Find charities that can use undistributed handouts, such as pencils and paper to schools or before and after school learning programs.
- Design the menu around seasonally appropriate foods and locally produced foods.
- Calculate and buy the amount of food needed.
- Ask food vendors to use minimal packaging for their products.
- Arrange beforehand to have unused food donated to a shelter or food distribution program.
- Buy food packaged in containers of recycled content that can be recycled again.
- Use dishes, glassware, silverware and cloth napkins rather than plastic and paper.
- If using disposable food ware, use biodegradable, compostable or recyclable products.
- Serve iced tap water (flavored with lemons, limes, cucumbers, or other in-season fruits or vegetables, or fresh herbs) instead of bottled water. Have pitchers or dispensers located in central areas as well as on meeting room tables.
- Give participants reusable coffee mugs/cups at the start of the conference. Ask attendees to reuse any other glasses that they use during the day.
- Use bulk dispensers for sugar, salt, pepper, cream and other condiments.
- Arrange beforehand for the disposal of food waste: donation to a shelter or food distribution program, a compost bin, or ship to a local farm for livestock feed.
- Decorate with seasonally appropriate natural items. (Thematic decorations are more apt to end up in the landfill.)
- Incorporate something useful that coordinates with purpose/theme of event for door prizes and/or centerpieces: tickets to a play, concert or sports event, a year's pass to the state parks or museums, lessons or classes, gift cards to locally owned businesses.
- Use items twice: Door prizes first used as centerpieces, a food or beverage offering as the centerpiece, personal bouquets as centerpieces for a reception.