As event-goers continue to become more environmentally conscious, sustainability is a growing focus in the planning of live events. Attendees are looking deeper than just lineups and event programming to make their ticket-buying decisions. Often, potential ticket buyers want to support events that align with their personally held values, and a serious devotion to reducing one’s carbon footprint can be a deciding factor.
Event organizers serious about moving their events toward sustainability know it can be a challenge that requires consideration at every step of the event planning process, but the end result is more than worthwhile! If you’re not sure where to begin, our live event experts have you covered! Read on for a breakdown of five steps you can take to make your event more environmentally friendly.
Establish Mindful Admission Policies
Making your event as sustainable as possible means examining each of your policies and practices for potential improvements. For starters, consider moving to mobile tickets only, helping cut down on unnecessary paper waste from printed tickets. Organizers of all-day events like festivals should also consider permitting guests to bring reusable bottles into their venue. Large-scale festivals can lead to a shocking amount of plastic waste via water bottles alone. These and other simple policy adjustments can really make a difference!
Use Biodegradable and Compostable Materials
Perhaps the most important step event organizers can take toward becoming green is to commit to using biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable materials at their events. Serving food at your event? With hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of attendees to feed, it’s not surprising the sheer quantity of waste from things like straws, disposable plates, cups, and silverware your events can produce. Instead of the non-biodegradable materials these items are typically made of (like single-use plastic or styrofoam), use bamboo, sugarcane, or other compostable serving-ware which will have much less lasting impact on the planet.
Commit to Minimal Waste
Eliminate all unnecessary waste by using the power of your event community. Inform your guests of your commitment to sustainability and arm them with the tools to help you succeed in your mission. Burning Man’s iconic ‘Leave No Trace’ policy has inspired many event organizers to foster a community mentality that’s dedicated to being mindful of one’s personal impact on their direct environment, and the waste they may create. Help your attendees succeed in this mission by providing plenty of sorted recycling bins throughout your venue, encouraging proper recycling of materials over creating excessive trash. Continue this practice behind the scenes by tapping into catering data from previous events to avoid unnecessary food waste.
Consolidate Attendee Transportation
Whether your event is being held in a remote location, will host a lot of out-of-town attendees, or simply is in an area with scarce parking, consider available transportation options to reduce travel-related carbon emissions. Hosting a music festival at a large park outside of city limits? Or a comic-con that will have guests flying into town from across the country? Maybe a convention in a crowded city where parking can be hard to find? Research options relative to your venue, and provide your attendees with multiple alternatives to driving themselves! Offering a shuttle service from central pickup locations, listing useful bus routes, and offering parking discounts for carpoolers are great ways to encourage reduced automobile traffic to your event. Plus, incorporating a virtual element can be another great tool in expanding your event’s reach, even to those who may not be able or willing to travel long distances.
Move Toward Renewable Energy Sources
Pledging to use more renewable energy sources can mean anything from adjusting your venue lighting to incorporating new modes of on-site transportation (for example, electric golf carts vs. gasoline-powered). Start by making small changes, like switching out incandescent light bulbs for low-energy LEDs, using smart power strips throughout the venue, and encouraging your staff to reduce unnecessary energy consumption overall. If your outdoor event features device charging stations, consider making them solar powered! This is a very visible way to move toward renewable energy, and can even be branded to present a valuable sponsorship opportunity.