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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Easy Tips to make your Meeting, Conference or Event More Green

By Mary Campbell, Pinellas County Extension Director, Urban Sustainability

Planning a meeting or event can be challenging. Look for ways to show your commitment to a better way of doing business through “green practices”. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Rather than sending paper invitations, send E-mail and/or set up a website. If you must use paper invitations, print them on recycled content paper.

  • Make a friendly announcement at the beginning of the program announcing all efforts to go Green and instructing attendees which items are recyclable and what bin each item should go in.

  • Make all copies two sided or offer any information and materials to those that request it via E-mail, DVD, or jump drive.

  • Provide recycling bins for paper, cans, and plastic in meeting rooms.

  • Do not use Styrofoam.

  • Provide wooden coffee stirrers and as apposed to plastic straw stirrers.

  • Use reusable name tags and provide a place to return them at the end of the meeting.

  • Offer beverages in containers that are reusable and serve water or other drinks in pitchers.

  • Include vegetarian meals, and have meals planned using local, seasonal produce.

  • Use china and linens to prevent waste; or use paper plates, napkins, cups, and utensils that are biodegradable or made from recycled material.

  • Instead of a buffet, offer plated entrees; this reduces the amount of wasted food.

  • Consider donating un-served food.

  • Offer snacks in bulk and not individually wrapped.

  • Serve food and snacks that require minimal serving containers.

  • Instead of individual packages of condiments (sugar, ketchup, cream, mustard, etc.), use a refillable pump condiment dispenser or recyclable containers.

  • Opt-out of offering straws.

  • Coordinate with the meeting venue to ensure that energy for lights and air conditioning will be turned off when rooms are not in use.

  • Purchase carbon offsets for attendees traveling to/from a conference or meeting (for example:,
    • Links:

      US Environmental Protection Agency Green Meetings Initiative
      EPA's "Greening Your Meetings and Conferences" page
      Green Meeting Industry Council
      Bluegreen website for greening events and conferences


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