Leave a big impression and a small footprint!
Any event can be successful and less impactful on the environment and your community, and this guide contains some ideas to help you get started. Even if you only implement a few of these simple steps, you will make a difference. All it takes is vision and commitment.
A sustainable event conserves and restores resources, honors and supports those involved, adds value to the local economy and educates participants about the benefits of sustainability.
An environmentally responsible event considers:
Choose an emphasis that might need your support (Education, Sports, etc...) or choose a local organization that you know is doing good work in your community and consider raising money for them through the sales of your event or via donation. Partnering with them will help raise awareness for them and acknowledgement for your actions.
Food can easily be take for granted if yours is not a food-based event, but it matters. More and more people are aware of where their food comes from and are critical of what's served at events. Have you made it worth it? Would you serve it at your home for dinner? Can you support local and whole foods? Reach out to local food growers (within 150 miles) and consider organic, fresh whole foods that avoid prepackaging. Find a leftover destination and be conscious of healthy food options for children. Seasonal foods are best especially when sourced from local farmer's markets and vegetarian options are key (a great way to reduce your carbon footprint as well!).
Emissions associated with climate change resulting from the way we do business have an effect on the plantet, and us. Massive, unpredictable storms like Superstorm Sandy, coral reef damage, crop damage, species endangerment, loss of land, loss of habitat, are all associated with the emissions we create. Consider fueling generators with biodiesel. You might also be able to tap into a renewable energy source in your area -solar? Wind? Consider energy monitoring stations as well to actively manage your energy draw. If you're lighting your event, compact flourescents and LED lights are best for efficiency and are readily available most everywhere. Once you've done all you can to reduce your energy use, and transportation footprint, a certified carbon offset is a great way to showcase your commitment.
Your event materials contribute to your environmental footprint and make a statement about your commitment. Minimize event materials by printing double sided, and using recycled and certified sustainable paper. Go paperless when possible using social media, and memory sticks to promote your event. Make signs and banners reusable and/or recyclable. Consider repurposing opportunities for all the materials you create - what can be done with them after the event? Can they be given a new life? Consider repurposing opportunities for all the materials you create.
Transportation is often associated with some of the heaviest emissions, and emissions are leading to climate change, and climate change is creating some vert, well.... interesting weather happenings. Is carpooling, public transportation, biking, or walking an option? Is a bike path nearby? Consider using alternative fuel shuttle buses. Lastly, consider incentivizing attendees to walk, bike, carpool or other to your event.
Paying for things only to see them head straight to the landfill isn't fun for anyone. It's also not very efficient. Reduce the environmental impact of the event, by reducing waste and using recycle bins with good signage. Will local farmers use your excess food scraps for compost? Work with local trash vendors and/or sustainability coordinators to minimize land fillable trash generation and consider serving everything you can in bulk quantities and reusable containers, limiting what goes to waste. Reduce the environmental impact of the event by reducing waste.
Water is a finite resource in our area so conserving water is an important responsibility on both humanitarian and ecological grounds. To conserve resources, provide bulk water filling stations to avoid use of plastic bottles and provide or encourage patrons to use re-usable bottles. Waste water or urban runoff from the event should be contained, treated, recycled, or properly disposed of in order not to pollute the local streams, rivers or ocean via the storm drains.Please call (714) 754-5633 for more information.