Do Tight Budgets and Sustainable Practices Go Together?
May 21, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

budget  AND  sustainable

Everyone in the meetings industry wants to go green, but many think sustainable practices such as a paperless conference are just not doable because of the cost. Here are 6 innovative and cost-conscious ways to be more earth friendly without driving your budget into the red.

  1. Exchange Paper for Apps.

    Examine your conference binder. How much does it cost you to print each one? Include the cost of the paper, printing, binder, shipping, and the time the staff takes in assembling, packing, and unpacking them. If you added the real TCB (Total Cost of Binder) up, you will probably be surprised it is more that you thought it to be. 

    MeetingApps has thousands of meeting apps that can run on mobile devices and PracticallyGreen is an app that has hundreds of tips an attendee can do at a conference to practice sustainability. Rent iPads or Tablet PCs to run these applications. 
     

  2. Understand All your Transportation Options.

    If most of your attendees fly to the conference, see if a subway line or bus service will take them to the hotel. If they are not traveling by air, look at train, bus, or carpooling alternatives and encourage these options on your website and other social media outlets. 
     

  3. Go Local For Everything.

    Work with the chef to incorporate foods from a local farmers market. Hire local speakers and entertainment. Find out if your city's school system has a jazz band or orchestra that will come out to play for your reception. When renting audio visual equipment, hire a local partner. Local spending spurs the economy and keeps people working. In addition, it reduces your cost by avoiding flying in presenters and entertainment. 
     

  4. Reuse Badge Holders and Use Digital Signage.

    A simple fix to reducing your trash is to reuse the badge holders. You can recycle the paper name badges, thus eliminating any waste.

    Rather than printing up digital signage on posters that will only be used once, use digital signage on computer kiosks that can direct attendees to the proper room. These kiosks can also serve as video introductions to the speakers and allow attendees to see a map of the entire conference layout. 
     

  5. Get Your Count Right. 

    Knowing exactly how many people are coming to your conference, and what sessions they are attending allows you to have the right amount of food and beverage, the right set up in each breakout session, and provide your exhibitors with the right expectations for giveaways. If your event relies on a large number of walk-in traffic, hire interns to call potential attendees to see if they are coming or look at your numbers for the last 3 years to determine an average attendance number. 
     

  6. Donate Leftovers. 

    Even if you get the count right, you are bound to have leftovers. Whether it be food or extra giveaways at the end of the conference, work with your local CVB or Chamber of Commerce to determine the best place to donate your food or items.

If you are event planning in California, turn to AV Event Solutions as your local provider for interactive technology tool rentals! 

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