While general business practices are huge waste producers, physical events tend to be even more wasteful, regardless of the size. It seems, if not impossible, extremely difficult to pursue the eco-friendly route when it comes to corporate events, but it is more achievable than you think.
Burning Man arts festival was one of the most popular examples of this. It has held the principle of “leave no trace,” meaning that goers and organizers were expected to clean up after the event and promote recycling and donating to eco-focused causes. This is only one example, but it shows that it can be done.
Organizations should treat mindful consumerism and eco-consciousness not as current trends but as necessary steps in the evolution of the company. Events are no exception.
From registration to giveaways, you can take steps to pursue the sustainable route for your future events.
Eco Considerations for Your Next Event
There are many areas to look into in the process of switching to greener event practices. Here are some of the biggest areas of concern.
1. Rethink your giveaways.
This is one of the aspects of any event that generates a lot of waste but often goes unnoticed. The assumption usually is that when you produce items in bulk, you can keep extras in storage and find a use for them later on. Unfortunately, this is often not the case with unused giveaways.
First, use eco-friendly materials in the items you produce. If you are passing shirt production to a garment-printing franchise, check if they have or are willing to use eco-friendly inks to produce silk-screened shirts. You can also give away edibles packed in biodegradable containers or items made from recycled materials.
Choose products that are, if not reusable, biodegradable, or easily recyclable. This ensures that little to no waste is left by the production of your giveaways.
2. Automate where you can (and should).
Events use tons of paper, plastic, and others, from sending out invitations to making name tags at registration areas and cue cards for speakers and emcees. A simple and potentially more efficient way to curb the excessive use of paper is to go digital instead.
Email your invitations and reminders, set up an online portal and database for registration, and use reusable IDs or badges as name tags. These do not only drastically reduce your paper and plastic usage but also make your operations faster. Having a digital database lets you avoid the time lost to finding names on a few pieces of bond paper!
3. Choose your venue wisely.
Organizing an environmentally friendly event does not just involve the materials you produce for the function itself. It also means finding a venue that allows you to follow your eco-friendly practices. Even better, find an event venue that promotes sustainability, too.
Find local areas that smartly use energy and have policies in place to reduce waste. You can even opt to hold the event in an outdoor location, which is a greener choice than indoor areas. Plus points if you can rent or purchase solar-powered devices to power your event.
4. Plan the meals.
For the sake of convenience, many organizers opt for packed meals, which are usually placed in non-biodegradable containers and provided in bulk to the event. There are a few ways to minimize or avoid food wastage.
To reduce transportation costs, search for a caterer in the local area where you are holding your event. Go for locally sourced food to support small businesses in the community and settle for ingredients in season.
You can go with packed meals still, but get containers from certified green suppliers. Don’t forget to include utensils, too, in your search for the best suppliers. This way, you are not contributing to further plastic pollution.
Should your event end with some food packages left unconsumed, don’t let these go to waste, either. Move quickly and deliver these packed meals to organizations that can distribute them to food-insecure communities or areas where the food can be used for gardening.
5. Spread the word about it.
Organizing an eco-friendly business event is an accomplishment that must be shared with others. Let your event be an example that it is doable, and there are many avenues to make it happen. In fact, you should even include it in your promotions, as this is a way to encourage and urge attendees and the public to be more eco-conscious.
Promoting your genuine efforts towards sustainability improves the image of your organization, gaining the trust of more consumers, and changing more minds as you pursue the green path.