For event planners, a sustainable meeting or conference is becoming more and more the norm. Incorporating eco-friendly elements is easier now than ever before, and partnering with the right venue is important in making sure attendees don't miss "the old way" of doing things. Read on for some ideas to keep in mind when starting the planning process:
No More "One and Done"
Scaling back or eliminating single use plastic items like water bottles and individually wrapped food items will go a long way towards keeping waste out of landfills. Have the catering staff provide pitchers of water and glasses for attendees to drink. Another option is to have the venue provide a water cooler for your meeting room. When meeting participants check in, give them water bottles branded with your logo that they can use throughout the event.
Waste Not, Want Not
Food waste is an inevitable outcome of hosting an event, but there are steps that planners can take to limit the amount that is thrown away. An accurate head count for meals and cocktail hour mixers can cut down on the amount of entrées and hors d'oeuvres left uneaten. Look for opportunities to donate leftover meals to local food pantries.
App or Map?
Reducing your paper trail is another way to streamline your event's environmental impact. Online registration is fairly common for conferences and events, and the use of event apps is on the rise. This allows attendees to access conference agendas, maps, and other useful information that in the past would be printed and discarded after the event. If you feel obligated to print paper copies, keep track of how many you actually hand out, so that you have an accurate print count for next year.
Forgo the Distance
While planners want to see attendance at their events increase, offering a virtual meeting option for participants who live far away is a great way to expand the reach of your conference, and will also potentially cut down on the carbon footprint of long distance travel via airplane. When selecting a venue, also consider the walkability of the location. Can participants use public transportation, or is the venue within walking distance of restaurants and other points of interest?
So Much Swag?
In theory, the idea of offering free goodies to event attendees sounds like a perfect way to thank people for participating in your event. But how many of these items actually make it home? If it doesn't fit in someone's luggage, chances are it's getting thrown away. While it may be too drastic for some, doing away with conference swag altogether ensures that your event doesn't add to already at-capacity landfills. If you can't fight the urge to give something tangible to attendees, make sure they're useful items like pens and notebooks that can be used throughout the conference.
One last tip: at the end of your meeting, have a receptacle available for attendees to place their name badge so the holder can be reused at next year's event. Implementing eco-friendly tips as part of your planning process doesn't have to be a difficult change. Contact us to see how our experienced meetings staff can assist you in delivering a more environmentally conscious event experience.