How to Go Green: Meetings and Events

As you plan your meeting or conference, think about the possible ways to reduce your environmental impact. These tips will help save money as well as resources.

Registration & Meeting Materials

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  • Allow participants to register online or RSVP electronically.
  • Communicate with participants by email as much as possible.
  • Provide all meeting materials, or as many materials as possible, online electronically. Allow participants to request hard copies, to insure that those who really want or need paper copies get them.
  • Request that speakers, presenters, and exhibitors follow these tips as well.
  • When you need to provide paper copies, print on both sides of the paper and use recycled paper.

Catering Food & Beverage

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  • Choose local, organic, and in-season food as much as possible.
  • Provide fair trade, shade grown, organic coffee.
  • Offer vegetarian selections, which can be healthier, have fewer calories, and use less land and energy to produce.
  • Have attendees sign up for specific meals or ask them to indicate their preferences to help you plan the catering order better to reduce the amount of excess food ordered and wasted. You can ask attendees to designate which courses they want.
  • Donate excess food to a food bank, local farm, or compost center.
  • Use reusable service ware- dishware, utensils, and napkins. When reusable service ware options are not available or practical, use biodegradable or compostable products.
  • Reusable coffee mugs, water bottles, or bags are great promotional items.

Meeting Site

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  • Collect recyclables at the meeting.
    • Check with local recycling vendor about what materials can be recycled and the best method for collecting the materials. The vendor may be able to provide bins and pick up collected recyclables at the end of the meeting.
  • Choose centerpieces and decorations that can be reused, such as living plants, or silk flowers. Give these away as table prizes.

Lastly, be sure to let participants and the media know about the efforts you are taking to reduce the environmental impact of the meeting. Include in your registration materials and press releases the steps you are taking to make the meeting “green.”

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