Tackling Event Waste

Jul 17, 2023 | Events, Miscellaneous

Tackling Event Waste: Strategies for Reducing Event Waste and Being More Sustainable at Your Next Event

With every event, big or small, waste seems inevitable. When running an event with hundreds or thousands of attendees coming in and out, exploring the venue and making the most of the event, it gets harder to think about the environmental impact it has. Events like that are all about convenience, which is why single-use plastics seem to be the more reliable option. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of ways to incorporate eco-friendly practices in your event, you just need to know your options. This article will help guide you in terms of finding greener and more responsible ways of hosting your next event.

Be responsible with decorations, goodie bags and samples

No one appreciates a dull event; however, the use of single-use decorations can have particularly adverse effects on the environment, as they are unlikely to biodegrade or be recycled. Additionally, since most decorations are custom-made for specific events, repurposing them afterwards becomes a challenge. That’s why it is crucial to adopt a responsible approach when selecting decorations for your event. Go for environmentally friendly options like biodegradable or recyclable materials such as paper or fabric banners instead of plastic. If you have plans for similar events in the future, it’s wise to choose relatively simple decorations that can be reused without a theme clash.

When it comes to goodie bags and samples, it’s important to avoid excessive production. Take a moment to review the guest list and determine the number of attendees expected, so you can prepare an appropriate number of bags. Alternatively, consider sending out a pre-event survey to gauge the interest of visitors in receiving a goodie bag. This way, you can effectively manage the number of bags needed and prevent unnecessary leftovers. Just like the decorations, use a recyclable or biodegradable material like cotton for goodie bags, which can be reused in the future, promoting sustainability and reducing event waste.

Encourage the use of refillable bottles/ coffee cups

It is important to stay hydrated (and caffeinated) at any event, which is why so many single-use plastic water bottles and to-go coffee end up in the bin. Encouraging visitors to bring their own reusable cups can make a significant difference. Consider implementing a system where attendees receive a discount at cafes and drink stands if they bring their own cups. Another insightful approach would be to have water tanks located across the event for visitors to refill their water bottles which would decrease the number of people buying single-use, plastic water bottles. Thus, contributing to reducing event waste in general. 

Go Paperless

Paper waste, despite being recyclable, remains a concern at numerous events. From business cards to receipts, the excessive use of paper can be avoided by embracing digital alternatives. Consider using QR codes in place of traditional business cards or pamphlets to provide convenient access to information for visitors. You can also implement a lead recording device that will digitally scan attendees’ badges to store in a database. For instance, at JET, we use a lead recording device called an Engage Scanner to scan badges, which eliminates the need for business cards while also keeping all important information in one convenient place. By adopting these practices, you can minimise unnecessary paper consumption and reduce the environmental impact associated with paper waste.

Make recycling accessible

Another important aspect to consider for your event is the accessibility to bins, for both waste and recycling. Generating at least some waste is unavoidable, even with a recycling and zero-waste system in place. However, it is still important to dispose of waste in an orderly fashion and separate it from recyclable items. This is why having several bins for different waste located across your event is essential, not only to do your part for the environment but to also keep the space tidy, reducing event waste building up in the venue. Think about which components of your event can be made recyclable. For example, badges, badge holders and lanyards can all be made with recyclable or sustainable materials. Lanyards can be made with sustainable fabric like cotton, while badges can be made with unlaminated paper. When creating the badges for your event, try to eliminate as much plastic and non-recyclable material as possible in the process. At our events, we provide recyclable badges that are self-adhesive, meaning that using badge holders is generally not needed. If you’d like to hear more about exploring sustainable badge printing options, click here.

Partner with companies and vendors that share your vision

From a business and environmental standpoint, getting involved with like-minded people who share your values is always a great idea. It’s an opportunity to connect with eco-conscious companies in various sectors like catering and waste management to work with you on your event. For instance, food waste is a significant concern for event organisers, with overproduction and the use of disposable containers and cutlery being significant contributors to the problem. That is why partnering with a sustainable, eco-friendly or zero-waste catering company can be a real bonus if you are trying to host a greener event. The same can be said for your exhibitors. If you promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices through your event, it’s a good idea to hire suppliers that reflect that lifestyle.

You can also do your part for the environment by hosting your event in a sustainable venue. As a company that is based in a business park dedicated to being environmentally friendly and sustainable, we find that this helps to be surrounded by like-minded people and those who share the same eco-friendly values as us.

With the options listed above, you can choose to change the way you organise events for the better. It is important to look after the environment and be aware of the damage that an unsustainable and wasteful event can cause. If you’d like to discuss your plans for reducing event waste at your next event, get in touch.

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