Top tips for environmentally-friendly event management

So, you work in the environment or community development sector and you run events to help spread the message. But at the end of the day you’re standing in a room or a field and you’re looking at the waste – leftover food, piles of papers and plastic.

How do you reduce your footprint when running events? We’ve put together our top 10 tips.

Top 10 tips for environmentally-friendly event management

  1. Choose a transport-friendly venue– that is, choose a venue that is centrally located to the largest number of delegates. Sometimes there’s a need to hold an event in rural and regional locations – in that case, explore ways to encourage carpooling and offer alternatives to flying.
  2. Consider alternative technology instead of flying speakers in from interstate or overseas. With webinars, skype and holographic performances becoming everyday occurances, you don’t really need an expert in the flesh.
  3. Choose a venue that makes the most of natural lighting and passive heating / cooling. Ceiling fans are much more energy efficient than air conditioners and sometimes just being able to open windows and doors allows enough airflow to cool a room.
  4. Avoid printing promotional material and encourage your sponsors and partners to do the same.
  5. Do not offer disposable items – that means no plastic cups, no plastic cutlery or plates. Make sure you let the venue or caterers know too. If you have caterers who insist on disposables, put your foot down and make it a requirement that all disposable items be compostable
  6. Avoid plastic for packaging and food service – that includes plastic wrap. Plastic often crops up where you least expect it. We ordered 500 pens for an environment conference and they came in individual plastic sleeves. We were very embarrassed.
  7. Do not offer bottled water. Ask for jugs of water and glasses. If you’re running an outdoor event consider large water coolers and either asking people to bring their own cup (most people bring a water bottle to outdoor events anyway) or provide your delegates with a souvenir cup.
  8. Consider ticketing your social events so that you know exactly how many people are coming. When you charge a separate fee and people need to register for those events, you know exactly how many people to cater for, meaning less waste.
  9. While on the topic of catering, try to incorporate as much local produce as possible – often this will come down to your caterers, so be sure to let them know when you ask for quotes that this is your preference. Some people will stipulate a certain proportion of local or organic food across the meals catered.
  10. Compost and manually sort recycling wherever possible. There are permaculture groups and city farms who will take organic matter off your hands if you give them enough notice.


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