Are Your Meetings Really Green?
Sep 27, 2010 by DeDe Mulligan

The Green Initiative has been around for a long time, but hasn’t really been implemented in the Event Meeting Services industry until a few years ago. Using the simple theme of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" this article will focus on little things Event Planners can do to make their meetings greener.

REDUCE
  • Check to see if your venue has a Green Initiative and/or Policy. Are they actively utilizing it? What steps have they taken to reduce energy consumption or waste?
     
  • The Convention Industry Council recommends that meetings and their Event Rental Services partners incorporate Energy Star compliant equipment whenever possible. Energy Star equipment has been approved by the government as equipment that provides a significant power savings over regular electronics.
  • Ask the Event Meeting Services company, like AV Event Solutions, if they will use rechargeable batteries instead of throwing batteries away.
  • Turn off lights in meeting rooms when they are not in use.
  • Turn off and unplug all electronic equipment when not in use.
  • Try and eliminate paper during your conference. Give attendees USB Drives with the presentations. Rent iPad, Tablet PC, or Touch Panel Kiosk if the attendees need more information than the USB Drive will provide to them.
  • Ask venue not to put out paper notepads at the table.
  • Do not preset any food or drink. Ask each attendee if they want water, salad, and/or dessert. Many attendees do not one or more of these things.
  • Ask venue and/or caterer if they will donate any unused food to a homeless shelter or other such organization.
  • If conducting a trade show along with the event, ask sponsors to cut down or eliminate paper wasting products, such as brochures and catalogs. Encourage attendees to look on-line for more information.
REUSE
  • Ask the venue if they can provide washable dishes, stemware, and utensils with all your food and beverage, including the break rooms.
     
  • They should have a policy statement in each guest room to ask them to reuse their towels and bedding while the guest is at the venue.
RECYCLE
  • Make certain the venue has convenient locations through the event for plastic, glass, paper, AND aluminum recycling. Make several announcements asking your attendees to recycle their items instead of throwing them away.
  • Recycle plastic name badge holders for future events.
  • Give attendees reusable bags instead of plastic bags.
  • Make certain all staff and volunteers are recycling as well.

What are the Benefits of Green Meetings & Events?

  • Green Meetings & Events Can Save Money. Planning and executing a green meeting isn’t just about being environmentally responsible, it can also have economic benefits for the event organizer. Here is one simple example:  collecting name badge holders for reuse at an event of 1,300 attendees can save approximately $975 for the event organizer.*
  • Using recycled materials, recycling materials used, reusing items and reducing materials used can significantly lessen the event’s environmental impact. For example, if a five-day event serves 2,200 people breaks, breakfasts, lunches and receptions using china instead of plastic disposables, it prevents 1,890 pounds of plastic from going into a landfill. That’s nearly one ton! Another example is by not pre-filling water glasses at banquet tables during three days of served lunches for 2,200 attendees; 520 gallons of water can be saved.

*Information provided by Meeting Strategies Worldwide

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