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Go green: how to make your event eco-friendly

Go green: how to make your event eco-friendly

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword. It’s a commitment to making good choices, for your customer as well as for the environment.

Environmental issues like single-use plastics have become a concern for the many, not the few.

Now’s the time to give your conference and event attendees the reassurance that they’re part of something positive. Here’s how to make your event more sustainable, with just a few simple changes.

Print less, print better


Happily we’re past the days of endless conference brochures, paper invitations and leaflets galore. Most events will now have the option for paperless onboarding or e-tickets. It’s more convenient for a visitor to use the maps app in their phone to find you than be sent a paper copy of directions, and an immediately accessible website will save reams of unnecessary paper.

Some print material is usually still needed, however. Here’s where you can make a few small changes that won’t imapct on quality or customer experience, while keeping an eye on sustainability. Recycled paper is a good start, but it’s also worth thinking about vegetable-based dyes, and which paper finishes you choose; matte is more recyclable than gloss, and finishes such as foiling or spot-UV are best avoided.

Plastic-cased name badges and lanyards also add to your footprint. Search for suppliers using alternative materials like bamboo lanyards, and name badge suppliers that allow you to return their products for recycling.

Swag worth keeping

USB stick in a laptop

It’s rare to escape any corporate event without a branded tote bag, pen, USB drive or printed coaster. These items are often plastic, and often printed in bulk overseas (thus accruing significant carbon emissions). Let’s be honest: they’re also often thrown away.

With a little care, it’s easy to give your guests something genuinely valuable. Branded eco cups are a great choice for event swag: a simple choice that everyone will want to keep. For a truly eco-friendly option, choose rice husk instead of bamboo. Bamboo has multiple uses; rice husk is purely a waste product, which will be burned if its not recycled into new materials.

Eat well

Disposable coffee cup

Food and drink can make or break an event. It’s essential to cater for different dietary needs, and it’s always a good idea to include lighter options and plenty of choice.

It’s equally important to consider where you’re sourcing what your guests will eat. Local suppliers mean fresher food and fewer miles travelled, saving emissions. Ethical suppliers such as Red Tractor farms will provide high-quality options with a conscience.

Of course, how you serve the food matters too. Avoid disposables by using real plates, real linens, and genuine silverware or washable cutlery. Buffets should be served on reusable platters. If genuine glassware and crockery isn’t an option, there are many high-quality multi-use plastic options which will reduce breakages and last for thousands of washes. Above all, give your guests real cups to drink their coffee; takeaway cups are not recyclable, and we throw away 2.5bn of them every year.

Get vocal

People standing in a field holding cardboard speach bubbles

Committing to an environmentally-friendly approach isn’t just good for the planet: it’s good business too.

Your guests want to feel they’re making good choices, and they’ll appreciate you making it easy for them. Increasingly, clients search specifically for ethical suppliers and evidence of green credentials – and their decision may come down to how committed you appear to be.

Share off the positives of your service and the commitment you demonstrate, and don’t be afraid to shout about it.

Looking for more?

Eco-friendly conferences and events: the complete guide

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