Today, more and more people are becoming aware of how our actions, both as consumers and through business-related activities, affect the environment. To combat wastefulness, minimize their ecological “footprint,” and improve public relations, many companies and organizations are now adopting green practices while planning their conferences, galas, and mixers. Though many of these earth-friendly changes are small, they can have a positive impact on the health of our planet if implemented on a large scale.
To help our clients “Go Green,” Olivia Restaurant has answered some of the most common queries about hosting an eco-friendly event. Questions we hear regularly include:
What is an Eco-Friendly Event?
Many people think that green events must also have an environmental or ecological focus, but that’s not true at all. “Going Green” simply means that the organization or company operates in a ecologically responsible manner and takes steps to reduce their wastefulness, energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollutants. Any type of business can embrace eco-friendly principles and practices when planning an event, even traditionally non-green industries like petroleum and farming.
Why Host an Eco-Friendly Event?
Aside from helping to make our planet better for ourselves and for future generations, many eco-friendly practices can also be less costly than their environmentally-damaging alternatives. Because more people want to patronize and support organizations that act in a socially responsible way, hosting a Green event is a great way to increase brand loyalty and generate positive public relations, too. Everyone wins!
How Can We Make Our Event More Eco-Friendly?
Invitations. Paper invitations are not only costly, they’re also wasteful and severely outdated. Instead of contributing to our ever-growing landfills, send e-vites or invitations by email instead. (Tip: PaperlessPost.com is the perfect place to find creative digital invitations!) If you absolutely MUST use paper, make sure your paper is at least 30% post-consumer recycled content printed with vegetable inks.
Water. Instead of spending hundreds on bottled water at your event, opt instead for individual water pitchers or a few large water dispenser. Use reusable plastic or glass cups whenever possible, but even small paper cups are less damaging to the environment than hundreds of plastic bottles.
Transportation. Public transportation leaves a carbon footprint, true, but not nearly one the size of 300 guests all driving in their own cars to your event. To reduce emissions, try to book your event at a venue close to a trail or light rail stop (like this one) and consolidate trips to and from the airport for out-of-town attendees. Budget permitting, you may also consider providing a shuttle service, especially if the event is far from where most of the guests live or work.
Food & Service. When it comes to planning an eco-friendly meal for your event guests, use reusable utensils, dishes, napkins, and tableclothes whenever possible, and eliminate plastic glasses, stirrers, and straws. To reduce emissions needed to transport good across the country, request that your catering company buy and use locally-grown, organic food as much as possible, and consider serving craft beers or wines from a local breweries or vineyards.
Clean Up. Many restaurants, country clubs, and venues will claim to employ eco-friendly practices, then throw everything in the same garbage can when everyone is gone. To make sure the recycling gets to it’s proper place, set up appropriate receptacles around the event, and personally see to it that your bottles, cans, and paper gets to its intended destination (i.e. the recycling bin or recycling center).