With more people making eco-friendly choices in their lives, it’s important to consider how your actions impact the planet. In fact, even something as seemingly harmless as planning an event generates carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
If you want to make a difference, you can plan a more socially acceptable event by incorporating sustainable practices. In this article, we will explain how large social gatherings can impact the environment, and share 11 sustainable event ideas that will reduce such effects.
How Events Affect the Environment
Events have several touchpoints, with each vendor and supplier involved contributing their own share of carbon emissions that are bad for the planet. There is also a lot of waste involved, from the food leftover after the meal to the disposable decorations and the pollution generated from the ranches providing food to the gas used to deliver items and guests to your event.
Waste includes not just food and gas but also water and electricity related to the planning, attending, and execution of the event. All of these elements make an impact on the environment. However, environmental sustainability helps ensure the only things your event leaves behind are good memories.
You can reduce your impact by considering all those touchpoints and how each step your suppliers, the banquet hall, caterers, and guests take contributes to greenhouse emissions. By paying careful attention to your choices, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and feel good knowing you are helping to make a difference. Here are some ideas to help:
1. Choose an eco-friendly banquet hall
Do your research and speak to Vaughan banquet halls about their eco-friendly practices. By choosing an eco-friendly venue, you actually make your life easier because they’ll do most of the work for you based on their green policies.
This might include a highly effective recycling program, commitment to a paperless office, reduced food waste, energy efficiency throughout the operations, and so on.
2. Work with sustainable suppliers
Whether it’s the florist for your event, the band providing entertainment, or the store where you buy your decorations, choosing green suppliers who use sustainable practices is another great way to reduce your event’s environmental impact.
Research companies offering sustainable products, such as biodegradable materials for goody bags, or companies who post their green initiatives, such as using all-electric vehicles at a limousine company. The more green suppliers you go with, the less impact your event has on the planet.
3. Think locally
Working with local companies is another way to reduce negative environmental effects. For example, a catering company that specializes in locally sourced foods or a florist who only uses locally grown plants and flowers will have less impact than a company that flies in the trendiest food and flowers.
Thinking locally reduces the impact of transporting goods and materials that increase carbon gases.
4. “Bus in” guests
Let guests know you are creating a bus route to pick them up at convenient locations. This brings everyone to your venue in one vehicle, thus reducing greenhouse emissions.
You can choose a clean emissions vehicle to reduce your impact even further. If this isn’t realistic, encourage people to carpool, walk, or take public transit, for example.
5. Go paperless
Paperless events are just that—they don’t use paper. Look for opportunities to avoid using paper, such as e-vites, not printing emails when planning the event, using e-contracts to sign vendor agreements, and using your cell phone to track your to-do list. The less paper you use, the better (including paper decorations).
6. Go virtual
Instead of having people fly in for the event, consider adding a virtual attendance option. The less travel involved, the fewer effects on the environment. Although guests might not be willing to pass on attending a major event such as a wedding, there are many gatherings where they might welcome the virtual option.
Your Vaughan banquet hall can set up the equipment, and you can include this option in your e-vites with a link and log-in information. Remote guests can participate via a large screen set up in the banquet hall, and people can interact through either live chat options or actual conversations.
7. Choose a local venue
Figure out where the majority of guests are coming from and try to find a local or centrally located venue. For example, if more people live in the west end and to the north, a Vaughan banquet hall is the ideal location with access from highways 407, 401, 400, and 427.
8. Create a vegan or vegetarian menu
Introduce your guests to the delicious world of meat-free diets with a vegan or vegetarian menu. Eliminating meat creates a far more sustainable menu while also contributing less to greenhouse gas emissions.
There are hundreds of healthy but delicious plant-based options available today with many Vaughan banquet hall chefs embracing this trend. You can get creative with a completely eco-friendly menu using fresh local ingredients and bursting with flavours that your guests will enjoy sampling.
9. Repurpose items
Take a different approach to your decorations by repurposing items. For example, you might find a florist offering rentals for things such as live tree urns instead of paying for flowers that will die and get thrown away.
You can rent furniture to create interesting seating options, or other decorative items, such as curtains, tableware, and eco-friendly candelabras, to reduce electricity. Think of new ways to use old items, and you are sure to create a more eco-friendly event.
10. Donate instead of sharing token gifts
At weddings, instead of wasting money on bonbonnieres that people will throw away, consider doing something different. Plant a few trees in the name of your guests or event, make a donation on behalf of your guests to a charity of your choice, or put the money towards a major food donation to your local food bank.
Let guests know that you have made the donations in their name, and they will likely appreciate the gesture. If you find that you still want to share some “swag” with your guests, choose an eco-friendly, sustainable gift.
11. Donate leftover food
Ask your caterers to package all leftover food so you can deliver it to a local food bank or shelter. Food waste is on the rise, yet there are more people in need of food than ever before.
This simple gesture has great meaning in the community. It not only reduces the food that rots away at local garbage dumps but also respects food as a precious resource not to be wasted.
Contact the Sustainable Event Specialists
Every little effort you make to create a more sustainable event has a ripple effect that benefits the community and planet. It is thus worth the effort to take the time to practice eco-friendly event planning.