To the Editor:

After re-reading the article [“Taking On Waste,” AM April], I just want to thank you and author Maxine Golding. I picked up a few ideas on what to do for future events. For instance, I loved the thermos idea and bulk water concept! The thermos could be event-branded as a carry-away from the meeting.

Here is some related information that I have found over the years:

  1. Food: Way back in 1987 when I first started doing events, whenever I had food left from an evening reception, the local hotels would box it up, and I would drop it off at a homeless shelter on my way home that evening. Many items such as meatballs would be used the next day, or they would be frozen for later. All I had to do was sign a waiver with the hotel and they would let me take it.

    This worked well until the early- to mid-1990s, when liability issues came into play and I was no longer allowed to do this. Then I tried to write into the contract the name of an organization to which the food should be donated, but that has not worked well at all. I would love to find out what language persuades the Moscone Center to donate the food. I am not sure what is included in the “nonperishable food” category, but that may be the deciding factor.

  2. Paper: For a large national convention in 1998 with 2,500 attendees, and a somewhat smaller (1,200 attendees) international summit in 2000, we created Web sites. All speakers were required to give us their handouts. These were posted before, during, and after the events so people didn't need to get a ton of paper at the events and subsequently pitch them, carry them, or ship them home. This saved tons of paper, notebooks, etc.

  3. Printing: A lot of printing can be reduced (as indicated in your article) by having a Web site with the brochure published on it. A small flier or postcard announcing the event and Web address can be mailed at a much lower cost in printing and postage. This has worked very well for me. From the online brochure, people can go straight into my online registration system to register for the event, make hotel reservations, etc. Problem: Not all properties are set up to handle registrations this way.

Just an FYI: The Society of Government Meeting Professionals held its first “green” annual meeting in Traverse City, Mich., in 1998, and people loved the “re-use the linens” concept, among other aspects.

Thanks for an excellent article!
Jo Angela Maniaci, CMP
Special Events Planning, LLC
St. Paul, Minn.

To the Editor:

Every meeting I just stand in amazement at the piles (literally tons) of trash, and am astounded by the lack of even rudimentary recycling efforts. At one convention we paid extra to rent recycling containers for pop cans, glass, and paper. Thank you for such a useful article. I will be writing a recycling clause into my next contract.
Sue Husch
QBS Event Management
Grand Canyon, AZ