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5 Ways to Start Hosting Sustainable Events Today

By Katy Mullet | 3 min read

As we head into 2020, Gather is identifying major trends that are impacting the events industry. The first is sustainability. It’s been a rising trend in the mainstream, and now more and more guests are expecting their venues to take steps to host sustainable events. So far, the majority of the attention has been on larger scale venues like stadiums and conference centers, which tend to use significant energy and produce a considerable amount of waste. However, these eco-conscious expectations are widening to include venues of all sizes as the environmental movement grows.  

To get an inside take on how trends like this one are transforming events, we turned to the experts. Katie Dyches, a former event planner and current Gather employee told us, “Guests will ask for no single-use plastics and whether or not you’re using recycled materials. I’ve seen venues switch the products they keep on-hand due to demand for more environmentally friendly materials, and I expect that to continue throughout the industry in 2020.” 

There are many ways to make your space more eco-friendly, and even small changes can make a big difference. With this guide, you’ll be hosting more sustainable events in no time.

5 Ways To Start Hosting Sustainable Events

1. Plan Paperless

With so many details to keep track of, planning even one small event can use lots of paper. Most event coordinators have some version of the “The Binder,” which holds printed emails, signed contracts, menus, BEOs and much more. Paper, a natural resource, takes a tremendous amount of energy to create and typically ends up in landfills. One great way to use less paper in your planning is to find an event management software that effectively eliminates paper from the process. From sending proposals and populating your calendar to e-signing and automated BEOs, Gather allows you to do it all online.

2. Use Sustainable Materials

If you aren’t already utilizing reusable or recyclable small wares, this is a great place to improve sustainability. At a recent customer event, Katherine Grant, Director of Events at Urban Putt, told us, “We use bamboo plates and hay straws. I try to find the most environmentally friendly and low-impact items for everything.” As your current stock runs out, try replenishing with biodegradable and eco-friendly items.

3. Minimize Waste

To help minimize waste, brush up on the recycling rules in your city. For event clean up, keep your staff informed on what can and can’t be recycled to minimize unnecessary trash. During events, you can also provide different waste receptacles with clear signage as to what goes where. 

In the US, 150,000 tons of food is thrown away daily (Source). In order to create less food waste, make sure to get an accurate headcount leading up to an event. The number won’t be perfect every time, but getting as close as possible will minimize thrown-away food.

4. Venue Transportation

Many venues provide helpful parking information on their website. Still, even something as simple as giving directions for public transport and providing bike racks enables guests to make sustainable choices. If your venue is near public transportation, publish it on your website, post it on your social media profiles and include it in your pre-event emails to guests.

5. Save Energy

Not only are energy-saving practices good for the environment, they can also help out your bottom line. Thirteen percent of energy used in the average restaurant goes toward lighting, so simple changes like using energy-efficient bulbs and dimming/turning off lights at certain times of day can save you money in the long run. Some other ideas include:

  • Switching your appliances to more energy-efficient models
  • Adjusting the thermostat or use a smart thermostat 
  • Staying on top of repairs to make sure equipment is maintained
  • Shutting down equipment that’s not in use
  • Having power-down and power-up protocols for your team 

As more and more people get on board with the growing environmental movement, businesses are expected to follow suit. Taking steps to make your event venue more sustainable will benefit you, your guests and ultimately, the planet.

Katy Mullet
Content Marketing Manager

I'm the Content Marketing Manager here at Gather. Outside of writing and creating campaigns, I love to try new restaurants here in Atlanta or wherever I'm traveling.

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