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5 Ways to Start Hosting Sustainable Events Today

By Katy Mullet | 3 min read

As we head into 2020, we’re identifying major trends impacting the events industry. Our first is sustainability – it’s been a trend in the mainstream, but guests expect their venues to hold the same standard they do. So far, the majority of the attention has been on larger scale venues like stadiums and conference venues since they use significant energy and produce a considerable amount of waste. But the expectation is quickly spreading as consumers demand that venues take responsibility. 

With the consumer experience transforming, we turned to industry professionals to get the scoop on how these trends are changing expectations. 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 continue throughout the industry in 2020.” There are plenty of large or small ways to start hosting more sustainable events – start trying these out today. 

5 Ways To Start Hosting Sustainable Events

1. Plan Paperless

It’s no secret that planning events use lots of paper – most event coordinators have some form of the “The Binder” that holds everything from printed off emails, signed contracts, menus, and BEOs. But paper is a natural resource that uses a tremendous amount of energy to create and typically ends up in a landfill. One way to use less paper in your planning is to find an event management software that takes as much paper out of the process as possible. From sending a proposal, populating a calendar, online document signing, and automated BEOs, Gather allows you to do it all online. 

2. Use Sustainable Materials

If you host events that don’t use reusable small wares for your events, this is a great place to start using sustainable materials. 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 buying new items that are biodegradable and eco-friendly. 

3. Minimize Waste

To minimize waste, brush up on the recycling rules in your city. For event clean up, keep your staff up to date 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 America, 150,000 tons of food is thrown away daily. (Source) For less food waste, make sure to follow up to get an accurate headcount. It’s never going to be perfect, but going the extra mile to get it close will help the environment.  

4. Venue Transportation

Many venues provide parking information on their site. Still, even something as simple as giving directions for public transport can be a great way to encourage guests to make a sustainable choice. Air pollution due to driving has been on the rise over the past three years, so offering options for guests is something you can start doing today to make an impact (Source). If your venue is near public transportation, publish it on your website, post it on your social media profiles, and include it in your last email to guests before events. 

5. Save Energy

There’s plenty of energy-saving changes that are not only good for the environment but your bottom line as well. In the average restaurant, 13% of the energy is used by lighting (Source). Switching to energy-efficient bulbs and having options for dimming or turning groups of lights on and off depending on the time of day can save you money in the long run and provide more choices based on the mood of your event. Some other options include:

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

Making your events venue more sustainable has benefits for both you and your guests. And while it may be a trend, the benefits and changes you see are here to stay.  

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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