Creating a sustainable event is so much more than stocking up on recycled seed paper for serviettes and serving tray after tray of organic hummus. Sustainability is essentially about being responsible, in every aspect of event planning. The earlier you make sustainability a part of your agenda, the quicker you can join a conscious movement that Mother Earth would approve of.
It may seem a daunting task to host an unforgettable event that is also sustainable. But as the collective consciousness of the industry changes, so do your options when it comes to what can be done to not only reduce negative environmental impact but also to up your ante on leaving a large positive footprint in your wake.
Here are some ideas for you to ponder as you bring your next great green event to life.
1. Let’s make it a “ZeeWee”!
Never heard of a ZeeWee? Well, we are about to enlighten you. A ZeeWee is a nickname for a Zero-waste event. Super cute, but also super important! Now, we understand that hosting a full-on ZeeWee is an incredible accomplishment, but remember, being sustainable is all about baby steps. Focus on the idea of Zero-waste right from the outset. Ditch the paper invites and go digital, choose a venue that recycles their waste, use volunteers that will benefit from the collection of waste after the event, consider bio-degradable (or reusable) cups and utensils… The idea is to make it as simple as possible for guests to become a part of the recycling process whilst still having a blast. Any step towards the responsible management of a ZeeWee is one in the right direction!
2. Food Glorious Food!
Events are notorious for the amount of food served, and for the amount that gets binned as leftovers. When it comes to the gastronomic duty of menu planning, clever thinking can truly make all the difference. Choose food that is bursting with freshness from local vendors who offer in-season varieties that don’t take a 3-day trek from the coast to get there. Avoid bottled or pre-packaged options as these can create mountains of unnecessary waste. Involve your guests in the process by offering them trendy containers that can be re-filled as the event takes place – these could even serve as cool little giveaways for them to take home.
3. Start a movement – A transport movement
Unless you’re throwing a neighbourhood shindig, most of the guests will need to travel to your event venue. Although we don’t have an extensive public transport system, there are sure ways to get around a deluge of single person cars pulling up in the parking. Organise common pick up points from which group transport can be arranged, this can even form part of the fun of the event. Or contact a local taxi or ride-share company and see if they will offer you a discount code for your event guests. If you can effectively reduce the number of vehicles bringing guests to your event, you are going a long way to reducing negative environmental impact. To get people onboard (excuse the pun) you can even offer spot prizes or a free drink to guests who take part in the fun.
4. Lastly… Remember that it’s all about fun – sustainable fun!
Of course, you want your guests to have the best time at your event, but just because it’s fun, it doesn’t mean it should be wasteful. Use local acts who share the same sustainable ethos as you.
Planning a sustainable event can certainly have unmeasurable positive ripple effects, but the important thing to remember is that being overly problem focused or negative can stall any sense of progress before it starts. Sustainability is all about solution-orientated thought and action and can truly be an opportunity to let your creative juices flow. Now is your chance to add mindfulness to the mediocre! Embrace this green playground for innovation and inspiration – you may very well be surprised by the results.