The stats show that whenever an event is conducted in Australia, on average every individual who attends the event produces approx 1.85 kilograms of waste on a daily basis. And most of this waste ends up in landfills. So, every year the event industry is producing tons and tons of waste, emitting high levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, leading to global warming.
If we become a little more conscious and a little more careful with our food choices, energy sources, packaging, modes of transportation, and the raw materials we use to organize our events, we can reduce the massive footprint we unknowingly end up leaving on the planet. Here are 5 simple rules to follow to plan more sustainable and eco-friendly events –
1. Pick a Green Venue for the Event
This is the most important step of this process. How green and energy-efficient your event is going to be largely depends on the choice of your venue. While picking a location for your event keep in mind the following pointers –
- Pick a location that’s easily accessible via public transportation.
- It should come with renewable energy resources like solar panels.
- If your event is going to last for more than a day, your location should have accommodation options available on-site so that your guests won’t have to travel unnecessarily.
- Pick a location that offers facilities like digital signages, conference rooms, and high speed internet, to minimize the use of paper and other raw materials.
- You can directly ask the location manager whether they hold certification from third-party organizations like Green Key, LEED, or Green Leaders for being a sustainable and green event venue.
2. Work with Sustainable Vendors
Just picking the right location isn’t enough to make your event a sustainable and eco-friendly affair. It’s equally important to keep in mind the ethics and sensibilities of your vendors as well.
Before you hire vendors for services like catering, decorations, seating arrangements, entertainment, or AV, ask them about their sustainability practices. You can specifically look for eco-friendly and energy-efficient vendors, for example – hiring a caterer who makes use of locally sourced food resources or hiring a decorator who uses recyclable or reusable decor items.
It’s important to work with vendors who have a similar set of goals and visions as you have, as a part of the events industry. By establishing more and more connections like these, you can make sure that ethical vendors do not run out of business, and in return, they will help you organise memorable events to the best of their abilities.
3. Ditch the Paper
Events often require printing large quantities of invitations, flyers, handouts and registration forms. And all these papers end up in the trash cans as soon as the event comes to its conclusion. That’s too much paper wastage!
To minimize this wastage, event organizers need to adopt more digitized solutions and use of online platforms for communication and registration purposes. Instead of sending out invites, send invitation emails to your guest list and use social media platforms to promote the event instead of handing out flyers or leaflets.
Even brochures can be easily replaced as you can send text messages or emails to your guests with all the information regarding the event. You can put up all the information on your (or the company’s) website as well, which can be easily accessed by the attendees via their smartphones or laptops.
You can also use a mobile app to connect and communicate with your guests online. There are many good event management apps available online that come with brilliant features like schedule organizer, in-app messaging for communication purposes, and reminder options.
4. Minimize Your Event’s Carbon Footprint
To minimize the carbon footprint, you can adopt practices like setting up group transportation options like carpooling. You can also run a shuttle service to pick up or drop off your guests at the airports or the bus stations. Carbon footprint can also be reduced by making use of renewable energy sources like biomass generators and by enabling energy-saving features on IT equipment, air conditioning, lighting setups, and other electronics.
You can inform and educate your guests, vendors, and staff members on the importance of these practices and ask for their co-operation. Encourage them to minimize the use of paper, non-eco-friendly raw materials, energy resources, and foods & beverages. Also, inform them where the waste bins are located on the location and how the waste needs to be segregated.
5. Plans for Waste Disposal
Studies show that if an event is organized for approx 1000 guests, by the time it ends, more than 1100 kilograms of waste gets accumulated. And approximately half of this waste ends up in landfills, which is an extremely non-eco-friendly method of waste disposal.
As an ethical and environmentally conscious event management agency, it’s our duty to come up with innovative, new ways for waste disposal management to minimize our carbon footprint on the planet. For this to happen, we need to start at the planning stages of the event itself. We need to invest time to understand what kind of waste we’ll produce and how to deal with it in the most sustainable and eco-friendly manner.
Most events produce four main types of waste –
- Organic – This includes all the bio-degradable waste such as food leftovers, flower arrangements, and lawn clippings.
- Recyclable – Anything that’s made up of metal, cardboard, good quality plastic, and paper can be recycled.
- Non-Recyclable – Anything that can neither be recycled nor be composted like balloons, soft plastic, single-use cups and plates, tissues, etc.
- Hazardous Waste – Anything that can possibly harm the health of humans or any other living organism. Examples of hazardous waste could be medical waste and industrial chemicals.
Now, depending on what kind of waste your event is going to produce and in what quantities, you need to come up with an appropriate waste disposal system. Whatever can be reused or recycled should be reused and recycled. Rest, everything should find its proper place. Strategize where the bins are going to be placed and with what signage. Employ people who’d empty the bins and contact waste collection services to pick up the waste from your location as soon as possible.
By following these simple rules of picking a more green venue, working with ethical local vendors, minimizing paper wastage, adopting more energy-efficient practices, and putting together a proper waste disposal system, every event company can organize greener, more environmentally friendly, sustainable events all around the year.
You can always contact your local government bodies to learn more about the specific ecological concerns of the state or the city you are currently dwelling in. Most of the states in Australia have their own set of guidelines and regulations regarding sustainability and eco-friendly business practices.