Can meetings truly be environmentally friendly? I like to think so. In fact, I’m being paid to think so for the first time this year. Our annual scientific meeting is being promoted as our Society’s first “green meeting”.
The Convention Industry Council (CIC) has defined a green meeting as “a meeting or event that incorporates environmental considerations to minimize its negative impact on the environment”.
In researching ways to reduce our environmental impact, I’ve come across some great tips that are fairly easy to implement right away. And, I’ve learned that several green practices will actually save us money this year.
The below “top 10 list” comes from PCMA’s online Meeting Management Resources, and represents their recommendations for initial steps you can take to begin immediately reducing your environmental impact.
- Start in your own office! Begin green initiatives such as recycling pop cans, installing a water cooler that doesn’t require plastic bottles or recycle used printer paper.
- Create a waste diversion system for exhibitors. Get them to commit to purchasing things such as recyclable carpet.
- Create consistent-looking show signage for easy reusability.
- Don’t have pre-filled beverage glasses at tables.
- Donate leftover food and sample products to charities like America’s Second Harvest or Gifts In Kind International.
- Give out refillable water bottles and set up water stations instead of handing out disposable bottles.
- Make exhibitor manuals digital instead of printed copies.
- Set up collection stations for show dailies and other collateral so that the materials can be recycled.
- Use china, cloth napkins and real silverware instead of disposable products to reduce waste.
- Work with the event facility to create a strict schedule for heating systems, cooling systems and lights.