More people today are looking for ways to make their next meeting or event Green. Here are some simple and inexpensive ideas. The following checklist was compiled by Michele Polci, CMP, CPCE, director of catering sales, Las Vegas meetings by Caesars Entertainment (caesars.com/groups-meetings/lasvegas), who offers the following advice on how best to keep things green.
Choose the right venue
- Verify venue participation in programs promoting energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction.
- Select a venue that is centrally located
- Ensure that the venue offers recycling bins in public spaces or participates in back of house recycling programs.
Publicize your efforts
- Let your participants know – beforehand and in the meeting agenda – that they are attending a green event.
- Prior to the event, share your sustainability initiatives on the organizations website
Food & Beverage
- Replace individual bottled water, tea, juices with pitchers and reusable glasses or water bottles
- To counter potential dissatisfaction over lack of bottle water, offer waters that are infused with citrus, cucumber or berries. Provide these items on the water station to create an enhanced experience.
- On the first day of the event, offer attendees company-sponsored and logoed water bottles or coffee tumblers. Attendees will want to reuse these items, which will decrease the amount of glassware, paper or plastic cups that would be needed otherwise.
- Eliminate preset water or iced tea at all meal functions.
- Remove the saucer under the coffee cup. This eliminates the number of dishes that will need to be washed, conserving water.
- Go bulk. Steer clear of small packaged and disposable items. This can be done with elements such as sweeteners, cream and savory items.
- Make use of reusable china, flatware and glassware. If choosing a venue that does not allow china, use biodegradable service items.
- Choose menu items that eliminate the need for flatware, such as bite-sized tapas or skewered vegetables.
- Update your menu by using food as its own serving vessel for passed items – such as ceviche in a tortilla cup.
- Choose locally sourced food and beverages that are sustainable, seasonal and/or farm direct.
- Use organic products when possible.
- Use recyclable signage on buffets highlighting organic and/or locally grown items
- Use local donation programs for leftover materials or food and beverages.
- Use linen tablecloths and napkins. Avoid paper products whenever possible.
- For multiday events, use centerpieces that can be repurposed and modified for a new look
- Use décor items that can be donated after the event. Choose centerpieces, such as flowers or plants that are sustainable.
- Source audiovisual and stage products locally to eliminate carbon emissions due to shipping/travel.
Consider these options when planning your next meeting or event – remember every little bit helps.