Tips for Promoting Recycling At Events
Keeping Your Meetings Out of the Landfill
The Green movement is no longer a trend and is now a full-time concern for every modern event planner. Whether you are checking out your venue’s LEED certifications, planning seasonal catering options, or giving your whole event a Green makeover, these steps are vital to reducing our waste—and the meeting and event industry creates a lot of it. Recycling at events is one key aspect of creating a comprehensive plan to minimize waste and promote sustainability.
No matter how you look at it, the meetings and events industry has a major waste problem. Whenever you gather a large number of people together, they will create a lot of waste. From the paper, we use to keep track of event notes and the soda cans we serve, to the signage we post and leftover food, a lot can pile up in the trash after all the attendees go home. We often focus on over-the-top experiences and top-notch food and beverage to build memorable events for our attendees, and they all come with their own unique waste problems.
Luckily, the boom in event planning technology has created solutions, and recycling at events has never been easier. Many event venues are already on board with recycling measures. Modern event professionals across the industry are working hard for real change in how meetings and corporate events are planned and executed. Creating Green events is no longer about adding a few recycling cans and posting them on Instagram; as an industry, we are leaping forward with innovative technology and efficient systems planning. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so utilizing technology to avoid creating waste when possible will always be preferable to recycling:
- Communicate with your team through productivity platforms and other apps instead of printing out schedules and reminders.
- Embrace digital signage when possible for better responsiveness and less waste.
- Keep your event design plans on an app instead of printing hard copies.
- Use efficient digital space to tell your event’s story, such as with Event Canvas.
- Integrate event planning technology into your check-in process with advanced AI instead of fumbling with paper files.
Creating an efficient recycling program at your event can help minimize your event’s carbon footprint, but it can also make good business sense—and that is just the benefit that will make your stakeholders listen up. There is a growing demand from sponsors and investors to see responsible behavior, but of course they still want to see a healthy ROI in addition to corporate social responsibility.
These forward-thinking ideas, such as the ones we share here, lay the foundation for where the corporate event and meeting industry is going.
Ban the Worst Offenders
While many materials can be recycled, there are some that simply cannot and are destined for the trash heap even after just one use. At conferences, meetings, and other corporate events, the worst offenders are plastic water bottles and polystyrene. Luckily, banning these products is not terribly difficult. Polystyrene is in Styrofoam, which is usually used in foam plates, cups, and takeout boxes. Check with your venue or catering staff that they use eco-friendly alternatives. Instead of water bottles, offer refillable bottles and water stations—don’t worry, they are much sleeker than the old office water cooler.
Recycling at Events for Charity
There are plenty of organizations who have found great success in recycling our old belongings to benefit those who need it. Your attendees can support a worthy cause and learn about the recycling process by bringing along items they no longer use. Some charities collect old cell phones and printer ink cartridges to recycle for materials. St. Jude’s Ranch for Children accepts used greeting cards to upcycle into new cards for all occasions.
Get Behind the Scenes
Event attendees are increasingly interested in getting down and dirty with the processes behind where our goods come from. To make a big impression on your attendees, plan an excursion to a recycling plant to show them the whole picture behind their waste. The enormous piles of trash and unrecyclable materials, along with the hopeful streams of products that can be recycled, will clearly illustrate what the Green movement is all about. This may not be a typical or glamorous field trip, but it will potentially open some eyes as to the true problems the environment is up against.
Showcase Reclaimed Products
The technology to transform all kinds of recycled materials into new products has given us some amazing businesses. Trendy Verdura Shoes are made from recycled fishing nets. The special edition Soma X Parley Bottle with Ocean Plastic Sleeve is made from recycled bamboo and water bottles. Choosing to partner with some modern products that are embracing recycled materials will not only align your company with Green culture but encourage your attendees to look for other similar products.
Even though the industry buzz has worn off the going Green trend, its place as a mainstay of event planning and event execution means that we must dedicate even more effort to recycling at events and minimizing waste. As event professionals who care about corporate social responsibility, we work to help all of our events work efficiently. Contact us to see more about our services and how we can align your next event to meet your needs.