Hosting events is a large part of many business models. However, large-scale events often generate excess waste and create a large carbon footprint. Planning a sustainable event is a great place to start your sustainability practice for your business.
To understand why we need sustainable events, we can look at the waste generated by a typical event. On average, 71% of the waste at large-scale events is not reduced or recycled. Big items like temporary carpet, signage, and catering add up quickly in the trash. But smaller necessities like name tags or sign-in sheets may not be as impactful on your carbon footprint.
Often, the process of combating event waste seems overwhelming. But small steps to reduce waste can add up in a big way. First steps can include:
- Weighing the waste from your events to assess your starting point
- Source materials, food, and merchandise from local vendors to reduce travel impacts
- Make signs and lanyards generic, so your organization can reuse leftover items
- Clearly label and locate recycling bins in convenient areas for attendees
- Make sign-in processes electronic
- Donate leftover event food to homeless shelters or food kitchens
Phasing in sustainable events can help your business in other ways as well. Buy materials locally to promote community and sponsorship interest. Create materials that can be reused or used electronically to cut down on future event costs.
Hosting an eco-friendly event can make a big difference, both in your community and beyond.
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