Ways to make your event more sustainable
Events are a big part of the world we live in. People love attending them and brands get value from hosting them because they help build relationships with people they’re trying to convert into customers or employees they want to make feel like part of the team.
Events are a great way to bring people and communities together, but they also have a significant impact on the environment. The fact is that events use up resources, like energy and water, in a way that isn't sustainable for the planet. They also create waste – and that waste needs to go somewhere.
So how do we fix this?
We need to think about our events differently. We need to plan our events to be sustainable by design. By making sustainability part of your event planning process from the beginning, rather than retrofitting green tactics once your planning is done, you can ensure that all aspects of your event are designed with the environment in mind.
Firstly, let’s look at why sustainable events are important.
There is growing global green consciousness
As you know, the world is changing fast – and it’s important that events reflect this change. People are increasingly concerned about environmental sustainability and reducing the impact of their lifestyles on the planet. Sustainability is about making sure that events are not only environmentally friendly but also socially responsible as well. Read why you should care about building sustainability into your events.
So how can sustainability be built into events?
Choose a green venue
When it comes to producing a sustainable event, your choice of venue is one of the most important decisions you can make. A sustainable venue is one that has taken steps to reduce its environmental impact through practices like recycling and composting, using renewable energy sources (like solar panels), water-saving measures, low energy lighting, and reducing waste by purchasing products that are locally sourced or organic. The best way to find out if a venue is truly sustainable? Ask!
Consider the location
Try to find a venue close enough to where most of your guests are coming from to reduce the need for unnecessary travel – which contributes to carbon emissions. Ideally, people coming from out of town should be accommodated in a hotel or guesthouse within walking distance from the venue.
Don't print out any materials that don't need printed copies such as tickets, maps, agendas and lists of vendors – unless there is no digital version available. If there is a digital version available, make sure it's easy for people to access from their phones so they aren't tempted to print out unnecessary materials themselves.
Use sustainable signage
Printing signs creates lots of waste and energy consumption. When you use sustainable signage, you reduce these impacts. What are your options?
1. Print on reusable materials like canvas or fabric, and then wash and reuse them.
2. Use signs made from corrugated plastics (like cardboard) that can be recycled after use.
3. Make signs out of natural materials like bamboo, which will break down into the soil when they're disposed of properly.
4. Use digital signage – it’s efficient and easy to update!
Cater for the environment
Sustainable catering means using local and seasonal ingredients, reducing food waste by serving smaller portions and minimising the use of disposable materials. When you're planning your next event, consider these ways to make your catering more sustainable:
1. Use locally sourced produce in support of local communities and to reduce transport and logistics which contributes to carbon emissions.
2. Serve smaller portions and offer additional side dishes so guests can eat less meat and more vegetables if they want to.
3. Use reusable flatware instead of plastic utensils and glasses
4. Serve food that is in season and locally grown.
Hint! Ask about sourcing before booking your venue or caterer. If they're not able to give you specifics about where their ingredients come from, they’re unlikely to be aligned with your green goals.
Remember the FIVE Rs waste disposal
Reduce your event waste by using fewer disposable products. Instead, use reusable plates, cups and utensils.
Reuse items that you would normally throw away at events by finding new uses for them.
Choose recyclable products and materials so they don’t end up in landfills. Set up recycling stations at the venue so people can deposit them there on their way out the door.
Recover what you can from damaged items before they go into the bin. This means salvaging broken glasses and plates that could be recycled or repurposed.
Whether it's creating a zero-waste plan or sourcing locally grown food, our team can assist with aligning your event with your organisation’s green goals with event design and management that have sustainability at their core. We can help you to produce more sustainable events while creating a better experience for attendees.