Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tips for Planning a Sustainable Event

The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word have set a goal to ensure that by 2018 at least 50% of all materials and refreshments used in events are environmentally friendly.  Check out some of the event planning tips put together by Iowa State University to help you in the planning stages of your event to make it as sustainable as possible!

Pre-event: Green Your Vision 
The successful greening of your event starts in your mind, in the brainstorming and planning. Consider designating a sustainability chair or director to your planning committee.

Green Your Shopping List
Avoid buying new things.
  1.  Reuse old items. 
  2.  Reach out to your social networks and groups you have worked with in the past and build a relationship of reciprocity. 
    • Borrow their equipment and resources with the expectation that you will, in return, support them in the future. 
  3.  Reach out to groups that you haven’t worked with yet and begin a relationship of reciprocity. 
    • Just because you may not be involved with the same activities doesn’t mean partnering opportunities do not exists. 
Green Your Vendor List 
Look for vendors who have had experience with green products and services or are willing to work with you.
  1. Ask them about sustainable options. 
  2. If they do not have any ideas, ask them to find and provide them—be persistent: the more demand they receive, the more they will provide options to future customers. 

If you are just buying a few products and not working through a vendor, look for green certified products.

If you have to go with disposables for an event, look to make sure they are compostable, not just biodegradable.

  1. Biodegradable products break down through the action of a naturally occurring microorganism, such as bacteria, fungi etc. However, when dumped in landfills, it can create methane or contain toxins. 
  2. Compostable is pretty close to biodegradable plastic but it is able to break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass at the same rate as paper, should not produce any toxic material, and should be able to support plant life. 
  3. For more information: http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/197/1/Degradable-Biodegradable-Compostable.html 
    • TIP: Check out New American Dream’s Conscious Consumer Marketplace for great leads on sustainable vendors and products! Go to www.newdream.org 

Green Your Food Options 
Look for local food options! To increase social sustainability, look to partner with other groups on campus who can provide alternative dishes such as ethnic, vegetarian or vegan options; consider sampling organic products as well.

Full document HERE

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