Six Ways to Go Green
Many meeting planners are discovering that going green is more cost effect and provides a multitude of unexpected benefits. The Convention Industry Council defines a green meeting as: “A meeting or event that incorporates environmental considerations to minimize its negative impact on the environment.” The following are a few simple tips to make you meeting or event more environmentally friendly.

Be Picky
Select facilities for your meeting or event that are in close proximity to each other, the airport and local attractions. If you have to choose venues that are not relatively close together, offer mass transportation options to ease the amount of car travel.

Major event cities offer numerous venues that allow meeting attendees to work, stay and play all in one location. The movement toward multi-use facilites in the city has made it one of the most environmentally friendly options in the country.

Say No to Paper and Plastic
Using disposable utensils and plates can not be avoided at some types of events. However, numerous options exist that can be environmentally friendly and disposable. Veneerware disposable plates and utensils are made from organically grown materials and are more environmentally friendly than traditional paper and plastic. The best option for dinnerware is still reusable items that can be washed and stored.

Donate Leftovers
Every major city has numerous shelters that are more than happy to take unused cuisine. Meeting planners should contact potential recipients before the scheduled event to discuss procedures and donation guidelines. The Professional Convention Management Association offers helpful tips for contributing food to local organizations.

Get Wired
Using new media and electronic technology to cut down your paper use is a simple way to make your meeting or event greener. Meeting planners should create a conference web site, offer electronic registration and advertise using the web, if possible.

Turn Off the Lights
Leaving the lights on when no one is home is something that we are all guilty of doing at some point or another. However, making sure that all lights and electronics are turned off is a basic way to “go green.” Meeting planners should coordinate with event venues to ensure that energy lights and air conditioning will be turned off when rooms are not in use.

Lighten the Load
Many hotels and resorts offer a linen reuse program that cuts down on the amount of laundry that is done at the establishment. When meeting attendees participate and re-use their sheets and towels, hotels cut down on energy use, labor needs, detergent concerns, and sheet/towel replacement costs.

Environmentally, linen reuse programs make a large impact, saving 6000 gallons of water and 40 gallons of detergent monthly (based on an average-sized 150 room hotel).

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