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Tips for Designing an Eco-Friendly Event

sustainability blog

With sustainability being a top priority for many organizations, it’s important to not just practice it in the day-to-day office environment, but also as you’re placing yourselves in front of your attendees and members.  From meeting planners, to production companies, to the venue and caterers, there’s something each participant can contribute.  We’ve compiled a list of ideas to consider for going green at your next event!

What meeting planners can do:

  • Ditch the lanyards and opt for reusable badges (write-in names) or biodegradable plant-able seed paper badges – a great sponsorship opportunity!
  • No more Tote bags, set-up a swag item bar and let attendees choose what they want. Also a fantastic sponsorship opportunity! Take it a step further and create a catalogue of eco-friendly swag items for sponsors to select from.
  • Opt for venues that are LEED certified and consider outdoor venues with solar-powered lighting and décor.
  • Arrange for electric shuttle buses for attendees to get to and from the airport or train stations to reduce the number of single cars on the road. When possible, encourage public transportation options – many cities have fantastic train options from the airports. Other cities have free electric street cars as options for site-seeing! Another great sponsorship opportunity is to provide fare cards for some of these transportation options.
  • Use as little paper as possible and make sure what is used, is recycled. Start by replacing printed programs with the event app and utilizing digital signage options.
  • Think twice before adding carpet. Trade show carpet and GS aisle carpet, while nice for the attendees, are often not reused because the specific size has been tailored to your show’s needs.
  • Facilitate communication between different vendors for load-in/load-out to minimize the carbon footprint caused by transport.
  • A lot of items are trashed after an exhibit hall closes because vendors don’t want to pay for return shipping. Work with local non-profits to schedule pick-ups for items like electronics, building supplies from booths, swag items, pre-packaged food/beverages, and more.  

What event producers can do:

  • Work with the AV team to ensure energy efficient equipment is being used. The newer, the greener!
  • For the stage decorations try to use eco-friendly materials or stock pieces. These choices can make your décor sustainable and stylish at the same time!
  • If a client needs ASL or interpretation, suggest having the interpreters join from remote. This cuts down the carbon emissions created by additional travel.
  • Use as little paper as possible and make sure that when it is used, it is recycled.

What the AV company can do:

  • Use LED lights which are energy efficient and reliable.
  • Use energy efficient projectors and screens and if possible, power your AV Technology with Solar panels.
  • Make sure you are buying from manufacturers and vendors who align themselves with sustainability efforts. Many of which include recycling options for older equipment. This is a good way of rewarding those companies who are being eco-friendly.
  • Recycle batteries! Set-up a drop box for mic & headset batteries used during the show. Then drop off at an approved recycling facility.  Some local non-profits will also accept used batteries for reuse in toys, lighting, and other items supplied to their communities in need.

What the catering company can do:

  • In lieu of pre-packed food boxes, display the items on tables to be individually chosen by the attendee. This limits single use packaging and helps decrease food waste.
  • Serve seasonal and locally sourced products. This can not only be less damaging to the environment but also, it can help local businesses.
  • Reduce food waste with programs such as Replate and Too Good to Go. You can also plan menus that maximize the use of all ingredients.
  • Use eco-friendly biodegradable cups, trays, and dinnerware.
  • If it’s an event that lasts a few days, you can provide mostly vegetarian options. Nowadays there are so many amazing veggie recipes that will surely delight your attendees’ palates.

What the venue can do:

  • Ask the venue to provide clearly marked recycling bins on site with compostable trash bags and provide informative signs for attendees to know what items can be recycled in that area.
  • Provide water stations around the venue with biodegradable cups.
  • Offer cost-saving incentives to organizations that are able to achieve a certain mark of sustainability during their stay.
  • Adjust the temperature by just a few degrees to keep attendees comfortable without making them too hot or too cold.
  • Have eco-friendly toiletries and recycled toilet paper in all bathrooms.

Looking for Ways to Make Your Next Event Eco-Friendly? LAI Live Can Help 

If you're looking for best practices for going green with your next event, or have any other event needs, our LAI Live team can help. Contact us to get started.

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