Although sustainable events have risen in popularity in recent years, because we are a literal “green” industry, it behooves us to go as green as possible with our conferences, events, and meetings. While this can (and is) a far-reaching goal, it’s not an all-or-nothing kind of thing. Wherever your event venue is in the sustainability journey, there are always ways you can deepen that commitment—and if your venue isn’t as far along as you’d like it to be with its sustainable efforts, pick one or two of these tips to implement, then set a goal to continue adding sustainable features to all of your meetings.
Does your venue feature a sustainable highlight that we didn’t mention? Please let us know by leaving a comment!
8 Ideas for Making Your Event More Sustainable
- Is your venue LEED certified? LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a widely used and recognized green building rating system, and buildings that are LEED certified have a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. If you’re building a new venue, you’ll start the process from scratch to ensure your project is sustainable. If your venue is an older building and you’d like to adhere as much as possible to LEED guidelines, check into LEED for Operations and Maintenance.
- Include recycling and compost bins next to every trash can. This is a no-brainer option. At every trash area, include a bin for trash, compost, and recycling. Have reusable signs that indicate what kinds of materials can go into each bin. Make regular announcements for attendees to be aware when sorting their materials after each meal.
- Take a look at your event food. Look for plant-based meal options, locally grown and in-season ingredients, compostable plates and cutlery, and water stations instead of water bottles. Search around for a local organization that will accept donations of properly handled leftover food. And plan meals precisely to avoid excessive leftover food in the first place!
- Reduce the paper trail. Commit to digital marketing and communications by creating an event website (make sure it’s mobile-friendly!) and app, making announcements via email and social media platforms, and promoting your event online. Got to have some paper items? Choose recycled materials. Have speakers with handouts? Add them as PDFs in your event app.
- Use eco-friendly swag ideas. Nix the cheap products that people often throw out (keychains, stress balls), include sustainable items like reusable tote bags and water bottles, seed packets, locally-made items, and gifts that support a cause-worthy purpose or non-profit.
- Use green transport. Discourage the use of single-occupant car journeys by providing shuttles to event features for your guests, detailing all public transportation options in your event app, and encouraging group walks, rideshares, and carpooling.
- Rent supplies instead of buying everything new. And if you need to buy something new, aim for it to be reusable at future events and made (if possible) from recycled materials.
- Look for green portable toilet services. If you have a large outdoor event and need outdoor bathrooms, look for companies that feature eco-friendly portable options. They will have nontoxic deodorizers, compostable toilet paper, and biodegradable and nontoxic cleaners.