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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

      Thursday, May 8, 2008

      Get Rid of It!

      The next mobile collection of hazardous materials will be held May 17th at 2 locations in Pinellas County, (click HERE for a look at the schedule). This is a great opportunity to get rid of all that SPOOKY STUFF lingering in garage cabinets and sheds.

      Pinellas County Utilities organizes this program. Speaking from personal experience, the whole thing runs like clockwork. There is usually a long line, but do not be discouraged. There are staff and volunteers available and your burden is quickly and efficiently lifted from your trunk or truck-bed.

      One collection site will be the Indian Rocks Beach City Hall, 1507 Palm Bay Blvd. The other, for south-county dwellers, will be the Treasure Island Community Center, 1 Park Place, behind Walgreens.

      What to Bring:
      chemicals, automotive fluids, cleaners, fertilizers, fluorescent bulbs and other mercury containing devices, fungicides, herbicides, household batteries, paint (latex or oil), paint remover, paint thinner, pesticides, pool chemicals, solvents, wood preservatives. Electronics: TVs, VCRs, cell phones, computers, copiers, digital cameras, fax machines, microwave ovens, monitors, printers, printer cartridges, stereo equipment, telephones, etc.

      What NOT to Bring:
      appliances, biological or infectious waste, empty paint cans, explosives, fire extinguishers, garbage, propane tanks, radioactive waste, smoke detectors, vehicle batteries

      To get rid of THOSE bad-boys, check out the A to Z Guide for Recycling and Disposal in Pinellas County. A comprehensive list providing resources for safely being done with them!

      The Household Electronics and Chemicals Collection Center is open every day but Wednesday and Sunday (and holidays) at 2990 110th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, 727-464-7500. For more information, contact Pinellas County Utilities at or phone 727-464-4000.

      Friday, May 2, 2008

      Join Us This Weekend at the Pinellas Living Green Expo!

      Under one roof, discover nearly all you need to green every aspect of your life. Extension experts will be on hand, providing information on composting, rain barrels, urban wildlife, green purchasing, pest management, and other Solutions for Your Life!

      This year’s event will be held at the Harborview Center, 300 Cleveland Street in Downtown Clearwater. Click here for a map to the venue. Over 100 vendors will be promoting their goods and services, and educational sessions will provide informative and entertaining facts on a range of topics from gardening for wildlife to redecorating your home. For a complete list of info sessions click here.

      We hope to see you there Saturday May 3rd from 9 to 5 and Sunday May 4th from 10 to 4. Admission is free. Save Money. Save the Environment.