5 Great Ways to Make Your Event A Bit Greener

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Greening up your meetings and events isn’t as overwhelming as you might imagine; even small steps really do add up. As consciousness about conserving resources has grown, so has our ability as planners to incorporate more green elements into our planning efforts. Those greener efforts can be big and bold, or more on the low-key side, but either way, making a positive impact with every event is a worthy consideration. And if those elements efforts are easy-to-implement on-site, help reduce environmental impact and give back to the local community, so much the better. To follow are a few simple ways to add a win for all to your next event:

Install badge-return bins.
At the end of every event there are usually hundreds, if not thousands of badges that wind up in the garbage as soon as attendees are done with them. How about recycling them instead? All you need to do is post bins and entrances and exits, and voila, you’ll be saving space in the local landfill and may save a few bucks by not have to buy quite as many badges for next time. To help boost compliance, be sure to have badge-return bins prominently placed, from doors open through event’s end.

Got USBs? Got a few too many of them?
Take a page from the IMEX America convention’s playbook and ‘share your spares.’ If you’ve got more USBs than you know what to do with – currently I have a box of 40+ sitting in my desk’s top drawer – then ask your attendees to bring along their spares and drop them in your event’s USB Drop Boxes for recycling. For example, at this year’s IMEX America convention, attendees were encouraged to drop off their pre-cleaned USB sticks for recycling through IMEX’s schools distribution partner in India. To start a program at your next event, take a look at organizations like RecycleUSB.com, a non-profit that’s dedicated to turning used and donated flash drives into portable learning devices for children, schools and institutions.

Clean the world – with the greatest of ease.
Also seen at IMEX, the host a Hygiene Kit Event with the Clean the World initiative, which recycles hotel soaps and shampoos into hygiene kits for those in need around the world. Click here to see an event in action and for information on how to organize the activity for your organization.

Trim your paper.
At the end of a meeting or conference, I must admit it breaks my heart a bit to watch pounds of excess handouts being carted off to the garbage bins (though I sincerely hope they’re headed for recycling). While clients have gotten better at curbing their printing needs, many speakers haven’t, and attendees can get a little panic-y at the thought of no handouts from their favorite PowerPoint sessions. So how to make everyone happy? Check out ‘Sli.do’ which enables session attendees to instantly access all the slides from their favorite sessions, without installing additional apps or software. Other steps to take include:
1.    placing paper recycling stations throughout your venue
2.    printing materials on recycled paper
3.   whenever possible, printing on both sides of the page, preferably single-spaced
4.    printing multiple slides per page to cut number of sheets necessary
5.    instead of placing notepads on every chair, make a smaller quantity available on a table in the back of the room just for those who truly need it

Green up your step ‘n repeat signage.
If you’d like make a traditional step ‘n repeat a bit kinder to the earth at a price that’s comparable to vinyl, ask your vendor to make your next step-and-repeat with DuPont Tyvek. The step-and-repeat made with Tyvek fabric is recyclable as a ‘number 2’ on the plastics scale which means you can put it in your curbside recycling or deposit it in retail store collection bin, or ship to a local recycler for reuse.

See? Greening it up doesn’t have to be hard!

Photo credits: Shutterstock.com

Kate Doyle Hooper

Kate Doyle Hooper

Since establishing her own company over a decade ago, Kate has produced just about every kind of event imaginable, from executive meetings and conferences to live music performances, mobile tours, fashion shows, celebrity gifting suites, and retail events for companies such as American Media, Bloomingdale’s, Conde Nast, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s BAZAAR, Hearst, Macy’s, Perry Ellis, Time Inc., Wilhelmina Models and Rodale, to name a few. Kate's editorial and advertising work has been published in Budget Living, ELLE, Fit, Civilization, Conde Nast Traveler, Esquire, Essence, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Men's Fitness, Men's Health and Shape, as well as on blog.cvent.com and weekendwalk.com.

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