How to Create a Sustainable Event

February 26, 2018

Katie Cook

Katie Cook is the Marketing Communications Specialist for Expo Logic, an event registration company that works with clients worldwide to provide innovative registration and lead retrieval services.

Events can cause considerable waste and a significant consumption of resources, like electricity and water. With the impact events can have on communities that host them and on the environment, event planners want to be mindful of this impact and increase sustainability efforts at events.

First, we must understand the environmental, economic and social impact of the event before we can find ways to incorporate sustainability. Once you have identified the impact of your event, this can inspire ways for your event and its attendees to give back or go green. For example, your event can choose to create a mobile app version of the show guide instead of having a printed program to save paper and be conscious of the environment.

Here are some other ways to make your event more sustainable and environmental friendly:


  • Encourage attendees to carry a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day. This will eliminate the need to purchase bottled water and reduce the amount of waste created by your event goers.


  • Reuse whatever materials possible. Badge holders, lanyards and ribbons are all items that can be collected and reused at your next events. Don’t miss this opportunity to recycle!


  • Influence your exhibitors and sponsors to use recyclable materials or use branded materials that are not event specific. Instead of throwing away branded items because they have last year’s date on them, leave this off the branded material so it can be used later.


  • Choose venues that are committed to clean energy. If possible, choose an event venue that shares your vision of sustainability and has taken steps to use clean energy or limit energy waste.


  • Try going “zero waste.” Cut down on the amount of waste created by your event and its attendees. The main way to create a “zero waste” event is to offer composting for uneaten food.


  • Buy local materials, food and beverages. Use local vendors and business owners from the community to provide items for your event whenever possible.


  • Work with local charities for left-over or reusable items. Organize donations of left-over food with a local food bank or shelter and speak to other local charities about donating reusable items.


In addition to helping the environment and giving back to the community, adding sustainability initiatives at your event can benefit you as well. Event sustainability will help to engage stakeholders and maybe entice others to participate. This will also reduce inefficiency, enhance the attendee experience and improve satisfaction at your event.

Implementing changes to increase sustainability and how “green” your event is can seem overwhelming. There are many ways to reduce, reuse and recycle at events but it’s important to not get ahead of yourself. It could take a few years for your event to properly implement these new standards and practices but there is no harm in taking it one step at a time.

To increase event sustainability, it is important for show organizers, vendors, sponsors and everyone involved to work together toward reducing the impact.

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