- Mary Windham
7 Steps to Sustainable Events
From the Desk of Mary
Event Manager - Entrepreneur - Adventurer
Creating sustainable events is an increasingly important aspect of event planning. By considering sustainability when planning, you can reduce the negative impact of events on the environment, while also having a great time.
The best part? Reducing and reusing, two key elements of being environmentally friendly, will actually save you money! Here are some ways to make your events - and your budgets - more sustainable:
1. Choose an Eco-friendly Venue
The venue where you hold your event can have a significant impact on its sustainability. Look for venues that have implemented sustainable practices like energy-efficient lighting, water conservation, and waste reduction strategies. Also consider venues that have easy access to public transportation or provide bicycle parking to encourage sustainable transportation.
2. Reduce Waste
One of the biggest environmental impacts of large events is the amount of waste generated. To reduce waste, use compostable or reusable plates, cups, and utensils instead of disposable ones. Also, consider using digital communication methods to reduce paper use and provide recycling bins throughout the event space. One example would be providing a digital event program and/or agenda, rather than printing hundreds of copies that won’t get used.
3. Consider the Menu
Your food and beverage choices can have a significant impact, too. Choose locally sourced, organic, and seasonal foods whenever possible, and consider offering vegetarian or vegan options. Work with your catering vendor to reduce food waste by accurately estimating the amount of food needed and then donating any excess to local food banks if allowable by your state or county. When possible, use the venue’s or caterer’s serving dishes instead of buying one-time materials.
4. Reduce Energy
Minimizing energy consumption during an event is another great way to promote sustainability. Consider using LED lighting, which uses significantly less energy than traditional lighting, and set up motion-sensing switches to ensure that lights are only used when necessary. Additionally, turn off all electronics and equipment when they are not in use. Minimizing the number of rooms used at a time and creating efficient attendee traffic patterns will also improve the guest experience while reducing energy usage.
5. Promote Sustainable Transportation
Encourage attendees to use sustainable transportation options by providing information on public transportation routes, offering shuttle buses, or arranging carpooling. Consider partnering with organizations like shuttles or bike-sharing programs to provide easy ways for guests to stay sustainable. Further encourage participation by advertising these options beforehand and offering raffle prizes for all who use eco-friendly ways to get to your event.
6. Use Sustainable Decor
Sustainable décor options can include reusable decorations, potted plants, fabric tablecloths, chalkboard signs, solar-powered lights, biodegradable confetti, and much more. Investing in reusable and eco-friendly materials not only enhances the look and feel of your event, but it saves you money on future events!
7. Communicate Your Efforts
Let attendees know about your sustainability efforts! Not only should they have a heads up about alternate options or differences in event logistics, notifying attendees also lets them feel confident in your values and event management skills. This is great publicity for you, and can encourage attendees to adopt more sustainable practices in their own lives long after they leave your event. Ideally, eco-conscious attendees will also feel eased by your efforts and participate in activities they might otherwise skip.
Share your efforts before, during, and after the event in appropriate ways, like as a footer on event signage. If you’re sending an after-event survey, we highly recommend asking about their opinion of your eco-friendly event planning. For some audiences, sustainability is a lot more important than others, so it’s helpful to know where you fall and how you could improve for next time.
By implementing these sustainable practices in event planning, we can do our part to reduce the environmental impact of events while still giving attendees the opportunity to network, celebrate, and connect in style. If you’re looking for more ways to make your next event more sustainable, give Occasions, Inc a call today! (240) 558-9015
We’ll use our years of event planning to create a creative, sustainable event that your attendees will remember for years to come.