Ideas to Help you Plan an Event Greener and more Eco-Friendly

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Green Event Planning

Events such as parties, conferences, and weddings often have a large impact on the environment.  They produce a sizable amount of waste, including everything from plastic eating utensils to name badges that are then disposed of after the event.  However, there are many easy ways to make your next event a much greener one.  As an added bonus, some of these ideas will also save you money in the process.  Here are some ideas to help make an event greener and more environmentally friendly.

Before the Event

When sending invitations; consider choosing an option that does not create waste or use up resources.  Instead of thick, paper invitations that are mailed in envelopes (and delivered using fuel-consuming trucks), consider other invitations options.  Email can be effectively used to invite people to an event, either by sending an email with the details or using an online invitation service such as evite.com.  Another option for small gatherings is to call each guest and personally invite them.

Ask that people RSVP to the event ahead of time.  This will prevent you from over ordering and throwing out wasted, unused food.

Choose a location that is near public transportation and provide that information in your invitation.  Another option would be to choose a location that is as close as possible to the guests’ location to minimize travel (and its impact on the environment).  For example, if you are hosting an office party, have it in the office building to eliminate car travel all together.

During the Event

Set up a recycling bin next to the garbage can to encourage recycling.

Choose a menu that is environmentally friendly.  Offer vegetarian or vegan options and choose locally grown produce when possible.  If you are serving coffee or chocolate, ensure that it is Fair Trade Certified as well.

Use reusable products whenever possible.  For example, rent cutlery and dishware instead of using plastic or paper products.  This will reduce overall waste (as well as provide a more upscale environment for your guests).  Another great option is to use cloth tablecloths and napkins.

Minimize the impact of decorations on the environment.  Choose to have minimal decorations (since they seem to end up in the trash after the party is over anyway).  Additionally, choose decorations that can be reused or repurposed after the event is over.  For example, many venues will offer decoration rentals such as candle holders or potted plants that can be reused for many future events.

Eliminate unnecessary paperwork.  Reduce paper waste at a conference by referring people to your website instead of handing out huge booklets that often are thrown away that same day.  At dinner events, skip the place cards and let people choose their own seating.

After the Event

Send thank you notes through email or e-greetings instead of sending paper copies.

If possible, offset some of your event’s impact by donating money to a charitable organization that is helping the environment.

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