Planning Sustainable Events & Why It’s Important

It’s no secret that the events industry as a whole can have a substantial impact on the environment. Think about the last major event you went to. How many people were in attendance? How much food was served? How many flyers and pamphlets were handed out? How much waste was generated? When you calculate how much of that ends up in landfills, it can be quite staggering. Now imagine if every event was planned with sustainability in mind and the effect that would have. That’s where sustainable event management comes in.

What is Sustainable Event Management?

Sustainable event management is the process of planning and executing an event in a way that reduces the environmental impact of your event. It involves making conscious decisions to reduce the carbon footprint of your event as much as possible. Sustainable events take into account the full life cycle of the event, from pre-planning to post-event cleanup.

Examples of Sustainable practices for Event Planners

There are many ways to make your event more sustainable. Whether you are planning a small intimate event or a large public event, here are some tips to reduce your event’s carbon footprint and ultimately make it a green event.

1) Venue Choice

Guests enjoying a party at a sustainable venue

One way is to choose an eco-friendly venue. Look for a venue that is powered by renewable energy, has water conservation measures in place, or makes an effort to reduce waste. Now we know how much everyone loves an in-person event but you may want to consider whether you actually need a venue? Is it a conference that can easily happen virtually? Another option to consider is hybrid events! Hybrid events are a mix of in-person and virtual participation. You can still have that face-to-face time while also reducing your environmental impact by not flying people in from all over the world. The fewer people, the less waste, which leads to a greener event!

2) Digital Invitations and Event Advertisements 

Someone reviewing a digital invitation for a sustainable event

How many people actually hold onto event invitations and flyers? Probably not that many! Create digital invitations and use social media and other digital channels to advertise your event. This will help reduce paper waste before your event has even taken place!

3) Encourage Attendees to Use Public Transport, Carpooling or Other Sustainable Transport Methods

An image of public transport

All across the globe, you’ll find many different initiatives to limit individual car trips. This is because single car occupancy is one of the least sustainable ways to travel. If your attendees are coming from all over, there’s not much you can do to prevent them from driving. But, if they live nearby, reach out and see if they want to form a carpool! In Perth, Western Australia, you’ll find most public events include the cost of public transport in the ticket price. This is to promote public transport to and from events where possible. 

4) Don’t Go For Disposable Food and Drink Options

Kombi Keg mobile bar to serve drinks and improve event sustainability

Food and drink wastage is a huge problem at events. It’s estimated that each person attending an event wastes about 0.8 kg of food, which is about the same as throwing away two apples. That doesn’t sound like much, but when you extrapolate that to all the attendees at all the events happening around the world, it quickly adds up. To mitigate the pile of drink cans piling up consider hiring a mobile bar, fill it with your favourite drinks then give each guest one glass that can be reused multiple times throughout the evening. As for food, try to avoid finger foods that come individually wrapped as these are more difficult to recycle. Instead, go for buffet-style meals where people can help themselves to whatever they want and there is less chance of food going to waste. You may also want to consider partnering with sustainable vendors who donate their leftover food to the local food bank.

5) Avoid Single-Use Decor

Reusable decorations at a sustainable event

Just like food and drinks, when it comes to decor, try to steer clear of single-use items that will just end up in landfills. Instead, opt for reusable or recycled materials that can be used again and again. For example, using mason jars as vases or tables made from upcycled pallets. If you must use disposable items, make sure they are made from recyclable materials. Another popular decoration to be mindful of is helium balloons. Although balloon releases can be really special, the manufacturing process of helium is actually very harmful to the environment. So try to use alternatives where you can and if you must have balloons try to stick to biodegradable ones to reduce your event’s carbon footprint.

6) Invest in Digital Signage

A digital sign displaying food & beverage at a sustainable event

It’s amazing how much signage is printed for just one single event. And most of the time, it’s only used for a day or two and then thrown away. A much more sustainable way to do things is to invest in some digital signage. This can be anything from an iPad with a slideshow of images to large LCD screens that show event information. Not only is this method more sustainable, but it’s also convenient. Want to make a last-minute menu change? Instead of reprinting a pile of menus, you can simply just upload a new file to the digital screen.

7) Work With Local Vendors

Serving food from local vendors

We get that for your special event, you may want the best of the best. To achieve this you may think of flying in a vendor. However, this one goes without saying. The further your event ingredients have to travel, the more of a carbon footprint your event will have. But did you know that working with local businesses has other benefits as well? When you support businesses in your own community, you’re also helping to boost the local economy.

8) Provide Waste Stations

Recycling bins at a sustainable event

When trying to implement sustainability practices to your next event, it’s important to think about event clean-up as well. A big part of being sustainable is reducing waste, so you’ll want to make sure you have proper waste stations set up at your event. This means having both recycling and composting bins available for guests to use for excess food waste. This also means less time spent on cleaning up the next day!

9) Use Recycled or Second-Hand Pieces

Second hand event decorations

When planning an event for one night, not everything needs to be brand new! You can find a lot of great second-hand items from local flea markets or thrift stores. This is a great way to save money while also being sustainable. Plus, you may even find some one-of-a-kind pieces that will truly fit your event.

10) Sustainability Efforts During the Pre-Planning Stages

Event managers having a zoom call about planning a sustainable event

Green event practices start in the event planning process. Consider green meeting practices. Does everyone need to drive to one spot for a meeting or can the conversation be had over the phone or Zoom? The fewer cars on the road, the fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Another way you can reduce the environmental impact during event management and planning is by limiting the amount of paper printed and event samples ordered.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Planning a Green Event

Green events don’t have to be less fun and exciting. With a few simple switches, you can easily implement some green practices into your next big celebration. Whether you’re planning a birthday party or a large festival, the economic benefits of a green event outweigh the environmental impact of the traditional way of doing things.

Looking for more tips on event planning? Check out our blog section to learn more! Alternatively, get in contact with your local Kombi Keg, our party planners are experts in creating memorable events.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you reduce carbon emissions from events?

With these tips, you can now help in reducing carbon emissions at your next event. Some of the easiest ways you can reduce your carbon footprint include eliminating the need for single-use materials, avoiding print materials, and donating food waste. Whether you’re planning a small intimate event or a public event, you’ll be able to modify these tips to suit your needs. 

What are the benefits of sustainable meetings?

The benefits of sustainable meetings and corporate events are many and varied. From reducing the carbon footprint of your business to saving money on energy and resources, sustainable meetings can have a positive impact on both the environment and your bottom line.

One of the most important benefits of hosting sustainable meetings is that it sets a good example for other businesses to follow. As more and more businesses adopt sustainable practices, it will become the norm, rather than the exception. This will help to create a snowball effect, where sustainability becomes the standard way of doing business.

Another benefit of holding sustainable meetings is that it can save you money. By investing in energy-efficient technologies and making small changes to your meeting planning process, you can reduce your overall meeting costs.

How does the events industry contribute to carbon emissions?

The events industry is one of the many sectors that contribute to carbon emissions. It is responsible for a variety of emissions, including those from travel, waste, and energy use.

The transportation sector is responsible for a significant portion of emissions in the events industry. Air travel is often necessary to attend events, and this results in a large carbon footprint. Other forms of travel, such as cars and buses, also contribute to emissions.

Waste management is another major source of emissions in the events industry. Events often generate a lot of waste, which can be difficult to manage in an eco-friendly way. If not done properly, this waste can end up in landfill sites.

As you can see, these all quickly add up.

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