If you took every step that would make your meeting more environmentally responsible it might take more time and effort than you would spend on every other aspect of your program. But just because you might not be able to do everything doesn’t mean you should do nothing. Following is an assortment of ways for you and your organization to contribute to a healthier planet. How many can you implement at your meetings?


Catering/Food & Beverage
·Use china and serviceware at food functions, and not disposables. Eliminate plastic stir sticks with beverages. Request cloth napkins and tablecloths.
·Arrange for beverages and condiments to be served in bulk dispensers during food breaks, minimizing individual servings.
·Ask attendees to reconfirm their attendance at food functions.
·Include foods that will keep longer or that can be donated as excess.
·Order local, in-season foods to cut down on transportation.
·Replace bottled water with water coolers. Do not preset drinking water at meals; have it served only on request.
·Ask to have food served without garnishes or use edible garnishes.
·Serve beer in kegs. If that’s not possible, tell servers to serve beer in bottles and provide glasses only upon request.


Recycling
·Donate leftovers, such as untouched food, pens, printers, papers, and flowers, to local groups.
·Have separate recycling bins for paper, plastic, glass, cans, and food (for compost). Place them in visible locations and use signage to identify the bins.
·Provide a convenient way for attendees to recycle badges and shoulder bags.
·Use recyclable signs.
·Pick facilities with recycling programs. Let attendees know ahead of time about the recycling programs you will be using during the meeting.


Conservation
·Require a linen and towel reuse program at contracted hotels. Ask hotels to offer guests the option of not replacing their toiletries.
·Choose facilities that have high-
efficiency toilets, shower heads, dishwashers, and other appliances that use water.
·Use electronic advertising, promotion, and registration whenever possible.
² Discourage exhibitors from bringing large quantities of collateral materials to the show; it often ends up in the trash because they don’t want to ship it home.


Printed Materials
· Limit on-site printed materials and giveaways, instead providing those by mail or electronically.
·For materials that must be printed, use both sides of paper.
·Don’t overprint paper materials, and ensure that they are properly shredded and disposed of.
·Do not use so-called goldenrod or fluorescent-colored paper; it is hard to recycle.
·Give attendees the option to remove their names from post-event mailing lists.


Speakers
·Encourage speakers to provide electronic copies of handouts and post them on your Web site.
·Request that speakers gather business cards and mail presentation materials to interested attendees after the event.


Additional Ideas
·Organize an environmentally friendly activity such as cleaning up a park.
·Choose destinations that minimize the amount of attendee travel.
·Include environmental criteria in requests for proposal and contracts.
·Choose meeting facilities within walking distance of hotels.
·Alert attendees to environmentally responsible transportation such as mass transit and carpooling.
· Participate in a “carbon offset” program to counteract the carbon emitted from the use of fossil fuels that causes greenhouse gas emissions.