Meetings and events tend to generate a significant amount of waste. There are invitations, papers, forms, display boards, name tags, signs, souvenirs, decorations, place settings, etc. You do not have to give up all of these to go green and reduce waste.
The Green Meetings Industry Council is trying to build awareness towards the goal of reducing waste generated by meetings and events. According to their study, the average meeting/event creates 20 pounds of waste per person per day. With 700 million event attendees annually in the U.S. and Canada, that brings the total up to 10.5 tons of waste per year. GMIC started the Million Tons of Trash Challenge to attempt to reduce that amount of waste by nearly 10 percent.
The GMIC is hoping that this challenge will educate the industry about being more environmentally-friendly and that we will be able to see more improvements in the future. GMIC is encouraging the efforts with a new web site that includes case studies, a blog, and a Waste Challenge Trash Calculator to record the amount of waste generated and determine the amount of waste reduced. This helps to see the effects of your green efforts. To be a part of this challenge, planners must report to the GMIC the amount of waste that they generated at their events, as well as the amount reduced and recycled. By taking these small steps to reduce waste, you can do your part to help the environment while still putting on a successful and memorable meeting/event.
MeetGreen, along with Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), is also trying to promote more environmentally-friendly meetings and events. They created “Eco-Event Zones” as a part of their new program. The purpose of this is for meeting/event planners from the same city to work together to find eco-friendly opportunities in the same area and share advice. If planners are working together on this, suppliers and building locations will be hearing their requests for more green options, which will create a greater impact.
Meetings and events can produce a lot of waste, but it doesn’t have to be that way! These programs have been created to help educate meeting and event planners on how to reduce waste. One great way is using eco-friendly name badges and bag tags that are 100% recyclable for your meeting or event. We all can do our part to help the environment by making small changes. Read more about being environmentally-friendly.