Sustainable Event Planning
Link to PDF of Guide for Sustainability
As the event’s organizer, you are in the unique position to consider purchasing, waste, and more. You can make sure your event makes only positive impacts!
USE THIS CHECKLIST TO INCLUDE SUSTAINABILITY IN YOUR PLANNING:
DIGITAL PLANNING cuts down on paper waste and even helps eliminate little mistakes! I let technology help me stay organized.
THREE WEEKS BEFORE
- I make digital lists. I use electronic applications or a spreadsheet to keep track of guests, vendors, raffle items and more.
- Inspect and reserve the venue. I look for dry-erase boards, blackboards, or electronic projectors to replace flip charts and handouts, and access to outlets if guests will need to charge laptops.
- Send Save the Date/invitation/RSVP. I use electronic communication to share who, what, when, where, and why about the event to my guests. I include a message about who to contact for accessibility or diet concerns, and other questions guests may have.
- I order promotional/giveaway items that can be useful to guests for long after your event. In addition to thinking careful of what to buy, consider where you buy it. Purchasing power makes a statement! By shopping from companies that make a commitment to sustainability, I support their goals and encourage other suppliers to demonstrate environmental stewardship.
- I learn about my guests. Now is the time to collect information on dietary restrictions, allergies, as well as travel limitations or necessary accommodations.
- I plan the menu and contact the caterer. Food that is vegetarian, local, and organic is the most sustainable, so I ask if those options are available. We discuss strategies for reducing unnecessary waste (coffee stirrers, paper doilies, straws, and plastic serving-ware that cannot be recycled). Sodexo, UTRGV’s food service provider, is the recognized global sustainability leader in its market sector and offers these options.
- I set up video/teleconferencing. If the venue allows, I provide video or teleconferencing for participants who cannot or would like to avoid travel to the venue.
- I plan for unavoidable printing. Paper supplies like place cards or menus are printed on post-consumer recycled paper and use both sides of each sheet of paper.
- I send a reminder email. Individuals forget about events as time goes on, so I’m not afraid to remind them. I get those RSVP’s!
- I line up the water coolers or pitchers to be provided to guests, or ensure that the caterers will provide liquid refreshments.
THREE DAYS BEFORE
- I contact guests by phone. I divide the guest list among my event planning team/organization and confirm attendance or leave a short message to every invitee. I let caterers know final headcount
DAY OF EVENT / AFTER EVENT
Sustainable development means considering the whole life cycle of things. Hosting a sustainable event means thinking through to the cleanup!
- I set up waste flow. I make sure large, labeled recycling bins are clearly and conveniently placed adjacent to all trash cans. I set up a convenient drop-off point for all unwanted handouts and accessories.
- I collect reusable items and donate surplus. Plastic name tags and other unused items can be stored for reuse or donated to another organization.
- I donate leftover food and beverages to a food bank. UTRGV has a food pantry that will distribute the food to students and the community.
- If I decorated with flowers, I encourage your event’s guest to take the centerpieces home . It’s better to reuse and recycle than to generate landfill waste. I also explore ways to donate them to nursing homes, hospitals, and other organizations.
- I offset the environmental impact of the event by purchasing emission offsets . Carbon offsets are a form of trade that funds projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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