Tips to a Sustainable Event

6 Easy Tips to a Sustainable Event!

1.  E-vite Your Guests
Emailing invitations saves paper and money, especially if you have a long guest list. If a printed invitation is an absolute must for your event, use postconsumer recycled paper or seed paper and give a phone number for RSVP's instead of reply cards.

2.  Serve Local Food As Much as Possible
Look for a restaurant or caterer that uses fresh, local or organic foods. If you're planning on serving seafood, make sure it's sustainably caught or farmed and low in mercury. Make arrangements with a local food collector to pick up any leftovers at the end of the day.

3.  Use Reusable or Biodegradable Tableware
Stick to cloth napkins and real tableware to reduce the amount of resources your event consumes and the amount of garbage you'll need to dispose of at the end of night. For a gathering at home, use your own dishes. If you have to go for the take-and-toss variety, look for post-consumer recycled content paper napkins and biodegradable plates, cups and utensils made from corn starch or agricultural waste. They'll degrade in just a couple of months in a commercial composter!

4.  Decorate Naturally
Try using 'living' d├ęcor such as moss, stones and succulent plants, or organic flowers instead of traditional pesticide-laden bouquets. Send your decorations home with your guests at the end of the night, or reuse them for another event.

5.  Dazzle with Energy Efficient Lighting
A daytime event held outdoors or in a place with plenty of windows lets you save big on energy costs and global warming pollution from conventional lighting. For additional lighting, use compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use only about one-third of the energy that regular light bulbs do. Look for energy efficient bulbs and fixtures marked with the Energy Star label. Alternatively use solar powered lights.

6.  Make Recycling Easy
Don't rummage through trash bins the next day looking for stuff that shouldn't have been thrown away. Make recycling easy by setting out clearly labeled recycling bins for items such as bottles, paper and cans.

If you impliment even one of these tips from your regular event routine you're on your way to positively impacting our environment.  Next event you do try to see how many more tips on this list you can use up and maybe one day you'll use them all!


The Importance of Eco-Friendly Events

It is 99.9% likely that all of you will plan an event at some point in your life whether it be large scale like a festival, small scale like a birthday party, or even your own wedding (which usually lies somewhere in between only you can up the stress exponentially...).  It is important to note however, that while much effort and planning goes into that event, there is also a lot of waste and harm to the environment that can occur from the single event you host.  Not to worry, there are many ways that can be easily reduced.  Over the next 6 weeks I will be posting about how to reduce your harm to the environment while planning an event and the importance of doing so.

There is much more to being "green" than recycling (though it is important!).  Here are some common myths about going "green".  I will note that as I'm a wedding planner aside from being a student, many tips will be referenced towards the industry.  

1.  Being eco-friendly is expensive.
Surprisingly it's not.  Think about it, if you're having your wedding in one location from ceremony to reception take out your cost of your limo as you no longer need it.  Poof.  There goes $600+ not to mention you're reducing the harm to the environment by all your guests driving here and there and they all love you for being so convenient with your venue.  This is also applicable to a meeting or conference as well.

2.  If you can't be 100% eco-friendly then why bother?
Every effort towards sustainability makes an impact.  "According to Green Suites International, if one hotel adopts the bath and linen program, 200 barrels of oil are saved per year-- enough to run a family car for 180,000 miles" (Professional Meeting Management 5th Edition, page 469).

3.  Individuals are powerless to change their workplaces and communities.
Just because you're the only person in your workplace or community actively standing to make a difference doesn't mean that others don't care or that they aren't willing to jump in and be a part of your initiative.  There are many success stories of individuals that have led the way for their company.  "Empowerment is a primary goal of eco-efficient conference management, giving attendees the opportunity to reduce their own environmental impact and adopt responsible behaviors.  These individual changes continue beyond a single event" (Professional Meeting Management 5th Edition, page 469).

Stay tuned for tips on how to "go-green" at your next event!