A Short Guide to Planning an Eco-Friendly Conference or Event
With so much to organize and think of when it comes to planning meetings, conferences, and events, it can sometimes be easy to forget about being eco-friendly, or at least it's not at the top of the list. But having a little forethought can have surprisingly good results, not only for the environment but also for your bottom line. It can be strategic to "go green" both in terms of financial savings and reputation.
From booking transportation to assembling goodie bags, this short guide will give you a few ideas and practical tips on how to have a more eco-friendly conference or event.
Make Green Travel Choices
By keeping your event central or close to home, you can dramatically reduce travel costs for each participant. If you can prevent having to fly, you'll not only save money but reduce your carbon footprint radically as well. You might even try holding a digital conference or online meeting that involves no traveling whatsoever.
If traveling by plane is unavoidable, you can still consider green choices for ground transportation. For instance, you can use public transportation like shuttles and trains instead of renting a car or try Uber's new carpooling service instead of hailing a cab that's just for one person. You'll find these green alternatives are also highly cost effective.
Eat Local. Cater Organic. Reduce Waste.
If you're catering your event, consider working with local vendors that won't have to travel far and burn fuel. See if there are options to buy food that's organic and locally sourced, and work with your caterer to make sure there won't be a lot of food waste after the event. If leftovers are expected, you may want to ask if it's possible for this extra food to be donated to a local charity or food drive. An experienced and reputable caterer should be able to help you with these types of inquiries to ensure your event is a sustainable one.
Invest in Reusable Items
If your event requires tableware items or flatware, consider investing in reusable flatware or products made from recycled materials. In the long run, you'll save money by having reusable cups, plates, cutlery, and napkins that can be reused at each event. By making this simple choice to rent or buy these reusable items, you're are also preventing a ton of waste from going to the landfills.
Goodie Bags and Raffles
Goodie bags and raffles can be the most anticipated parts at any event. If you're planning on having welcome bags or goodie bags for attendees, start by making sure the bags are reusable. Once you have a reusable bag picked out, fill it with eco-friendly goodies such as reusable pens, notepads made from recycled material, reusable coffee cups, etc.
You can't always control what goes into a raffle, but you can control how the prize is presented and wrapped. The number one thing to avoid with raffle prizes is the non-biodegradable cling film used to wrap them. Stay away from the cling film and you're one step closer to having a much greener event.
Reduce Paper Use
Reducing print collateral is one of the biggest and easiest ways to make an event or conference more eco-friendly. Create a digital platform or app that hosts all of your event's schedules, maps, Q&As, and other information that attendees will need. If you're sending personal invites, send them electronically instead.
Do you have any eco-friendly conference or event planning tips to add?