Let's face it: the environmental cost of events is getting hard to ignore. With an abundance of single-use plastic, food waste, travel, and decorations, the negative impact that events can have on the environment quickly adds up. One event attendee, on average, produces 4.16 pounds of waste per day.
Over the past decade, being eco-friendly and sustainable has become a top priority for consumers, particularly younger generations. As people have been increasingly more aware of how their lifestyle affects the environment, there is a growing expectation that the organizations and events they support will do the same.
By taking small, yet conscientious steps to be environmentally-friendly, your event can do good for the planet and be good for your guests. Here are five steps you can take right now to make your next event more sustainable.
1. Eliminate paper materials by going digital
Paperless is the way to go when designing a sustainable event. Going paperless can extend to all the materials of your event, like printed tickets, posters or signage, and even the materials your team uses (like schedules or agendas). All of that can be housed online.
Digital ticketing is one of the simplest ways you can make your event more sustainable. Not only does going digital benefit event producers by having all of their guest information secure in one spot, but it’s also more convenient for attendees. Passage can help make this change a reality with our simple ticketing and payments platform.
Learn more about how online ticketing can benefit your event here.
2. Consider hosting virtual or hybrid events
By going virtual with your event (even if only partially!), you’ll significantly eliminate or reduce the need for added travel, lodging, food waste, and electricity. This hits the mark for multiple ways of encouraging sustainability, and virtual events can be just as lively, engaging, and fulfilling as in-person events. There are a variety of creative ways to keep virtual events feeling fresh and interesting. An added bonus is that by going virtual, you open yourself up to a wider audience by allowing people from all over the globe to attend who may not have been able to otherwise.
Need help navigating the virtual event space? Schedule a demo with our team to learn more about your options and see how simple it is to make your online event a hit.
3. Find the right venue space
If your event needs to be held in-person, picking a venue that already has green practices in place is a great way to get a head start on your sustainability goals. When checking out venues in your area, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this venue use renewable energy resources (wind, solar, etc.)?
- What kind of waste management practices does this venue have in place?
- Are there any sustainable features of the venue that I can take advantage of (e.g. a green roof)?
- Is this venue in an easily accessible location that people can travel to by walking, carpooling, public transport, and so on?
4. Reduce food waste
Food waste is a silent killer in the events industry. Single-use plastics and uneaten food often flood trash cans once an event is complete and then find their way straight into a landfill. However, this kind of waste is easily preventable with some extra planning done behind it. Get in touch with your caterer ahead of time and be sure that you know the numbers of guests attending your event and any dietary requirements they may have. This will help you get a more accurate picture of what quantities you need so you can plan accordingly. The food itself that you serve can also have a big environmental impact. Vegetable farming has significantly less of a carbon footprint than livestock farming, so offering vegetarian and vegan options at your event can help cut down on this. You can also opt for menu choices with minimal packaging, ideally supplied in biodegradable or recyclable containers and sourced locally.
5. Be smart about your choice of decor
Choosing the right decor creates that one-of-a-kind experience that your guests are looking for. Whether you’re going for something a little more spooky and scary or soft and cute, there are all kinds of ways to make decor more sustainable. Reuse what you can from previous events and look for items that are made out of recycled or biodegradable materials. If you’re up for it, put your crafty skills to the test with a good ol’ DIY.
Be sure to communicate these efforts to your audience and thank them for their participation in reducing negative impacts on the environment. Be truthful about your intentions, and avoid greenwashing your event simply for a bigger profit. Know the impact of your current events, then make a plan for your next steps. Sustainable event management is not easy, but it can be done by having an eye that’s keen for change!
Whether you’re hosting an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event, Passage can help you make it more sustainable with digital ticketing, merchandise, and concessions sales. Schedule a demo to see for yourself.