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Why Green Meetings are Good for the Environment and Your Bottom Line

Event planners often assume that planning a green meeting is too difficult to implement or too expensive. Planning a green meeting doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you start small. Recipients will appreciate the efforts.

One of the easiest ways to plan a greener meeting is by choosing a destination that is easily accessible for out of town attendees. Is there public transportation from the airport? After choosing your destination, seek out hotels that make sustainability a priority. If there are events at multiple locations like restaurants, convention centers, etc., choose a central hotel that allows attendees to walk, reducing your event’s carbon footprint. 

Pre-planning is another easy way to go green. Order your promotional products at least a month before your event. The time, resources and extra costs involved with rush shipping are unnecessary burdens on your bottom line and the environment. Time the shipping of your promotional products order to ship directly to your event, thus eliminating an extra shipping cost and further reducing your carbon footprint. Ship supplies well in advance of your event. The convention center or hotel will hold them for you.

During the planning phase, take the time to seek out promotional products with environmentally friendly attributes. There are many options for eco- friendly lanyards and name badge holders that are made from recycled content or are recyclable. Avoid paper waste by loading presentations on USB drives to be handed out to attendees upon registration. If possible, do not include a date on any of your promotional conference materials so they can be reused.

A final simple step for a greener meeting is to have recycling stations available for attendees to recycle paper, aluminum cans, badge holders, lanyards, conference bags and more. Have signage by the stations showing what can be recycled and what cannot. Some convention centers allow exhibitors and attendees to donate leftover materials. Example: the Colorado Convention center has an onsite “Reclaim Room.” Materials are given to local nonprofits and organizations who can use the materials. Almost 30,000 pounds of materials were donated in its first year.

The Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) is a fantastic organization where meeting planners and sustainable businesses can connect. GMIC hosts an annual Sustainable Meeting Conference and provides ongoing education on hosting green meetings and events.