Events often generate a large amount of unnecessary waste, adding to an already concerning amount produced each year around the world. With sustainability and social responsibility being on the top of minds today, more and more event planners are taking action, turning their event “green” in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
An Eco-friendly or green event takes into consideration the environmental impact of all aspects of an event to help maintain the environment. By planning an Eco-friendly event, you’re planning to waste as little energy, water and natural resources as possible as well as limit greenhouse gas emissions and general waste.
By planning an environmentally friendly event, you can positively help change the world by promoting green initiatives. Green events also help to improve your profile in your local community and as an environmentally conscious event planner.
Whether planning a street fair, music festival, business promotional event or a wedding, there are simple steps you can take to reduce the negative impact your 2020 event has on the environment.
4 Ways to Plan Eco-Friendly Events
Here are 4 ways to to planning a greener, Eco-friendlier event:
- Go Paperless
Sometimes it’s the small changes that have the biggest impact. By choosing to send digital invitations instead of printed invites not only are you helping to minimize your carbon footprint, but you can quickly and easily communicate any updates or event changes with attendees and staff in real-time.
However, a paperless event is much more than digital invites. By setting up an event page or by creating an app, you can include all visitor information in one place and avoid printing event programs. If you’re planning to have exhibitors or guest speakers, encourage them to go paperless too by including their information on your event page or app to minimize the need for promotional handouts.
If handing out goodie bags or promotional collateral, ensure it’s made from 100% recycled materials and that the contents are useful to avoid items being discarded after the event.
- Consider Location & Transportation
The location and transportation of your event is a huge opportunity to cut down on your carbon footprint. By opting for an Eco-friendly venue or location with public transport links, you’re reducing the use of cars while making your attendees experience easier and more enjoyable.
Make sure there are lodgings, restaurants and shops in walking distance of your venue to reduce the need for short car journeys. If you know a bulk of your attendees are coming from out of town, try sourcing an Eco-friendly or green hotel and consider organizing a shuttle service.
If you or an exhibitor requires an event structure for your event, opt for an upcycled event shipping container rather than a bespoke tent or inflatable shelter. Event shipping containers can be branded for your event and then reused for another.
- Remove Potential Waste
When choosing your event venue or location, check to see if they recycle their waste. If no system is in place, you will need to find a local recycling company who can pick up the waste after the event. Providing onsite recycling bins with clear signage is a necessity for an Eco-friendly event. Restricting the aperture of the bins is a good idea to encourage people to think about what the items they’re discarding.
Try banning single-use plastic water bottles and individually wrapped items. If you want staff to wear a uniform, ask them to wear clothes they already own of a specific color or purchase a uniform that can be reused after the event.
- Opt for Sustainable Catering
Make sure your event’s menu is green by opting for seasonal and local produce that is less likely to leave a big carbon footprint. Food with a small carbon footprint include chicken, turkey and pork as well as vegetables. If hiring a caterer, ensure they work green and keep food miles to a minimum.
To keep food waste minimal, confirm the number of attendees with your caterer before the event. Provide compostable bins to allow attendees to recycle their food. At the end of the event, donate any uneaten food to a local charity.
Instead of supplying bottled water, reduce plastic wastage with water stations or by supplying tap water with filters in pitchers instead. Use biodegradable or recycled glasses and instead of pre-filling glasses, full glasses on request. If supplying warm beverages, choose a sustainable and fair-trade coffee and tea.
Few event trends have taken on as much momentum as making events more “green”, sustainable and environmentally friendly. By implementing a few Eco-friendly changes and choosing to go green at your events, you’re positively influencing the environment while creating a positive affinity for your brand, creating stronger advocates.
By influencing and encouraging your attendees to implement sustainable practices into their own lives, you will leave an impact on the environment that will last long after the event is over.
In the comments below, let us know…
What do you do to makes sure your events are Eco-friendly events?
Guest post written by Dawn Ellis