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Recycling Programs: Recycling Container Lending Program

Ideas for Green Events and Meetings


Pre-Event Considerations

  • Incorporate 'Green Thinking' in the planning process.
  • When working with an event planning agency or conference location, clarify your priorities.
  • Pick a location with as much natural light as possible.
  • Work with the facility to minimize energy use.
  • Invitations: pick avenues that get to many people, such as emails, website, social networking sites, and PSA's.
  • When necessary to use the mail, use postcards.
  • Offer online registration and information.
  • Rent and borrow items that you use infrequently.
  • Determine ways to generate the least amount of waste.
  • Choose a hotel that offers a linen reuse program and bulk dispensers for shampoos and soaps in guest suites.
  • If participants are coming from out of town, suggest off-site activities that are nature-based with minimal impact to the local environment.

Recycling

  • People who recycle at home and at work look for recycling bins wherever they go.
  • Make recycling containers visually available.
  • The placement, number and signage are all important for success.
  • Placement next to the trash doubles the chance that the correct receptacle will be used.
  • General Guidelines: 1 recycling station for each 200 people; Waste and recycling station should be available every 150 feet.

Conferences/​Conventions

  • Instead of printing handouts and proceedings, use CDs or flash drives to store meeting / conference information and distribute them to attendees or delegates.
  • Encourage presenters to send information to organizing committee so that it can also be put on the flash drive or to have a one-page handout with phone numbers and /or web addresses of materials.
  • When printed materials cannot be avoided, print on both sides of the paper.
  • When planning annual conventions, choose items that can be used more than once, such as badge holders and signs with non-event-specific verbiage.
  • A casual dress code ensures that clothing will not need to be dry cleaned or the temperature adjusted to accommodate suits.
  • Pick a location where public transportation is available and/or taxis can be shared.

Promotional Materials

  • Promotional materials should be appropriate and useful for the attendees.
  • Choose promotional materials that are durable and reusable.
  • Find charities that can use undistributed handouts, such as pencils and paper to schools or before and after school learning programs.

Food

  • Design the menu around seasonally appropriate foods and locally produced foods.
  • Calculate and buy the amount of food needed.
  • Ask food vendors to use minimal packaging for their products.
  • Arrange beforehand to have unused food donated to a shelter or food distribution program.
  • Buy food packaged in containers of recycled content that can be recycled again.
  • Use dishes, glassware, silverware and cloth napkins rather than plastic and paper.
  • If using disposable food ware, use biodegradable, compostable or recyclable products.
  • Serve iced tap water (flavored with lemons, limes, cucumbers, or other in-season fruits or vegetables, or fresh herbs) instead of bottled water. Have pitchers or dispensers located in central areas as well as on meeting room tables.
  • Give participants reusable coffee mugs/cups at the start of the conference. Ask attendees to reuse any other glasses that they use during the day.
  • Use bulk dispensers for sugar, salt, pepper, cream and other condiments.
  • Arrange beforehand for the disposal of food waste: donation to a shelter or food distribution program, a compost bin, or ship to a local farm for livestock feed.

Decorations

  • Decorate with seasonally appropriate natural items. (Thematic decorations are more apt to end up in the landfill.)
  • Incorporate something useful that coordinates with purpose/theme of event for door prizes and/or centerpieces: tickets to a play, concert or sports event, a year's pass to the state parks or museums, lessons or classes, gift cards to locally owned businesses.
  • Use items twice: Door prizes first used as centerpieces, a food or beverage offering as the centerpiece, personal bouquets as centerpieces for a reception.

Related Links


Recycling Programs