Transforming Events with Sustainable Practices

Transforming Events with Sustainable Practices

Transforming Events with Sustainable Practices by Nick Berman , Director of Operations & Sustainable Supply Chains at Geared for GREEN.

Events generate huge amounts of waste. Without proper planning, most material ends buried in landfills or, even worse, our oceans and environment. It's estimated that large events produce up to 3.3 pounds of waste per attendee per day. Not only does this trash pose an environmental threat, hauling material from an event site comes at a brutal cost for event producers. At Champions for GREEN, it’s our mission to reshape waste.

Sustainable events begin long before doors open. Proper waste management takes place from purchasing, to setup, and breakdown. It’s our hope that guests leave events with a different view on the products they enjoy throughout. This guide covers sustainable practices applicable to events of all types, from festivals and sports games to corporate outings and school activities. Regardless of the size or type, implementing sustainable practices can significantly reduce an event's environmental footprint.

Waste Reduction Tips

  • Circular Economy Implementation: Implementing a circular economy at events involves choosing products that can be easily reused, recycled or composted. This ensures that materials remain in use for as long as possible and are repurposed rather than discarded.
  • Uniform Material Use: Single-use products made from the same type of plastic (such as PET, plastic #1) wherever possible can simplify recycling efforts and minimize contamination. This approach makes it easier for attendees to follow recycling signage and ensures a more efficient recycling process.
  • Product Planning: Each product provided at the event should have a plan for proper collection to avoid landfill waste. This includes compostable items, recyclable materials, and biodegradable products, all with a clear end-of-life plan.

Guidelines & Planning

  • Guidelines for Vendors: Providing clear and detailed sustainability guidelines for vendors and food service providers is crucial. These guidelines should specify the types of materials allowed, waste disposal methods, and expectations for on-site sustainable practices.
  • Material Collection Plan: Ensure that event organizers have a comprehensive collection plan in place for vendors and participants. This includes setting up designated areas for recycling, composting, and waste disposal to streamline the logistics process.

 Sustainable Decorations

  • Reusable and Biodegradable Decorations: Decorations that can be reused or are biodegradable are highly recommended. For example, fabric banners, reusable tablecloths, and potted plants can significantly reduce waste.
  • Recyclable Signage: Signage is a great way for producers to spread their sustainability story. Using recycled and recyclable materials is the perfect opportunity to walk the walk while talking the talk.

Additional Sustainable Practices

  • Energy-Efficient Lighting: Using LED lights and other energy-saving options can drastically cut down on energy use. Solar-powered lighting and battery-operated options are also effective.
  • Digital Invitations: Reducing paper waste by using digital invitations and online RSVPs is an easy and effective way to limit waste generation.
  • Recycling Bin Placement: Placing recycling bins with clear and proper signage right next to trash cans will significantly reduce contamination. People will know what to throw in each and this limits the possibility of a recycling bin becoming a trash can.
  • Sustainable Education: Educating attendees about sustainable practices is essential. Providing information on how to recycle properly and the benefits of sustainable choices leaves an impact that lasts long beyond the end of your event.

Case Study: Partnership with Informa Markets Through our partnership with Informa Markets, together we’ve been able to demonstrate the positive impact of sustainable practices. Over three events, we recycled and diverted over 50,000 pounds of waste. Our sustainability dashboards showcased the amount recycled and products made from those recyclables, offering transparency, and demonstrating the power of a Circular Economy.

Conclusion and Call to Action Sustainable events expose the public to how we as a collective can change the way we view and handle waste. This guide aims to educate event organizers on implementing sustainable practices, regardless of event size. By adopting these practices, you not only contribute to a healthier planet but set a positive example for gatherings across the world.