Cut costs, support the environment, and learn how to create sustainable events with a difference.
Conferences and events can be a hub for all sorts of waste. One occasion, one venue dressed to impress for one day, and a whole lot of people using single use materials that will be discarded post-event. People often shy away from reusable materials and sustainable practices because the initial outlay may appear greater, but a bit of extra planning and investment in materials and processes with longevity will go a long way to reducing the environmental impact of your annual events.
By reusing materials, encouraging fossil-free transport options, going digital and discouraging food waste, you can reduce your environmental footprint, support the community and encourage a movement towards a more sustainable events industry with sustainable events.
Lanyards, name badges, bottled water, place tags, and plastic plates and cutlery are all throwaway items that are likely to end up in the trash. Invest in reusable materials and arrange collection points at your conference so that these materials can be used at your next event, and encourage attendees to think about the life of their possessions.
Reduce food waste
Worried that you’ll over-cater? Discourage food waste at your sustainable events by providing delegates with reusable food containers, and encouraging them to take home excess food at the end of the day.
Sustainability is also about promoting ethical supply chain practices and supporting local community groups. Local caterers are an ethical choice for a number of reasons. Firstly, small-batch caterers use less automated, energy-sucking equipment, and their proximity to the venue will mean that they will use less energy to transport food to and from the event. Supporting a local caterer also gives back to the community, sustaining the income of a small business.
Encourage sustainable transport options
Whether you’ve got 50 or 500 guests, many journeying bodies equal huge amounts of fuel output, contributing to air pollution. Choose a venue that is easily accessible by public transport, and one that has bike parking nearby so that you can gather your guests in one place with as little energy output as possible. Many bodies in one vehicle make a much lighter imprint on the environment. Encourage your delegates to carpool to the venue and they might even make friends in the process.
Forget gifts, go digital
While it’s a nice touch to gift attendees personalised branded paraphernalia, the reality is that this is just a whole bunch of plastic and paper that is likely to be tossed after the event. Instead, choose one gift, like a glass drink bottle, or reusable cotton bag.
Forget throwaway gifts, and push your event into the digital realm with online materials. Use digital advertising across the whole event process, from pre-event invitations to post-event evaluation activities. Find unique ways to engage your audience with digital event marketing strategies that will significantly reduce your waste output. Try Paperless Post for beautifully designed digital invitations, SurveyMonkey for interactive evaluation surveys, and produce a MailChimp email campaign to engage, and re-engage your attendees.
Choose conscious decorations
Decorations can be the most impressive element of event styling, but they’re also arguably the most wasteful. Traditionally popular event decorations, such as wall hangings, posters, confetti and fresh flowers are single use only, meaning they’re thrown away during the event bump-out period.
Consider investing in reusable decorations that can be stored and refreshed for each event on your busy calendar. Instead of posters or wall hangings, use digital projections to showcase your brand in the venue.
If you’re set on using fresh flowers to decorate your space, arrange a collection point at the end of the event where guests can pick up a bunch on their way out, or choose a sustainable florist like Good Grace & Humour who will donate your flowers to a local nursing home at the conclusion of your event.
Reduce, reuse, recycle and have a fun time planning an event with a difference, and with longevity in mind. These five strategies will have you producing beautiful sustainable events that are built to last.
Inspired? Design an eco friendly event for one of the many Sustainable event venues in Melbourne >>
Never fear, Sydneysiders there are a number of beautiful sustainable venues for you too >>