Making Eco Friendly Events – How to be more sustainable

At a time where world leaders such as Donald Trump don’t believe in climate change, we think it’s more important than ever to be conscious of your footprint. A lot of people are very eco friendly in their own home, I bet everyone reading this has at least one recycling bin, but no one is running such eco friendly events as standard yet.

In 2016, 85% of event waste was going to landfill, and I can’t imagine that figure has improved much since then. The industry is worth something around £39 billion last time I checked, so I think we can afford to be a bit more sustainable. It might just help that bottom line too.

The reality is, event managers probably aren’t considering planning eco friendly events because it’s one more thing to add to the list of the 4000 things you’re already thinking about, but it doesn’t have to be so hard. Here’s what we do:

 

  1. Paperless office

At Mango Pie, our printers are turned off and have been for at least 6 months now. We took the decision to buy iPad pros and pens (the ones which are A4), and work entirely from those.

Reasons I love the iPad:

  • The time saved from not needing to type up your notes after a meeting is a blessing. Everything is done directly into the documents
  • There’s no risk of leaving a scrap of paper with some really important figures on it on site.
  • We look super profesh.
  • WE SAVE SO MUCH PAPER!!!

Reasons I don’t love it:

  • It took a bit of getting used to, and sketching is kind of tricky. But we’re getting there.
  • The upfront investment cost is high.

 

  1. Sell it.

We have stacks and stacks of stuff in our warehouse which we’re slowly making our way through and selling if it’s not used.

  1. Ask your suppliers

Ask your suppliers to be conscious of how much packaging they’re using, and to be aware that you’re looking at this. Just by simply making them aware, they’ll probably use less plastic to wrap their products in, and be a little more compliant, which takes you one step closer to eco friendly events.

  1. Buy second hand

There’s literally nothing wrong with buying second hand. Obviously if something is in bad condition then by all means, buy a new one. But we try to be conscious where we can.

  1. Stop over ordering

Get better at managing the amount of people that are likely to turn up on the day, drop out on the day, etc. We manage one dinner where the waste cost equates to nearly £10,000 which could be avoided if the client changed the wording on a few emails. So much good food goes in the bin.

  1. Post event

Does anyone know what happens to their event once it’s over? Where do your flowers, set, centrepieces go? Chances are, they’re going in the bin. Below I’ve noted what you can do to help run eco friendly events once it’s all over

  1. Give your flowers to your guests. Just take along a few flower bags and hand them out at the end of the night. They’ll LOVE it. Failing this, ask your florist to cost in the time to drop them off at a hospital. Flowers are so expensive, it’s such a waste for them to be thrown away.
  2. Recycle your set. Most of the time, set and stage are build from a series of wooden panels with your chosen print wrapped around them. Most of this will be re-used, and obviously lights etc aren’t being thrown away after one use, but it’s worth checking with your production company that they are going in the recycling.
  3. “I’ll order an extra 20 (cough, 50) so we’ve got some in storage, and just in case there are any last minute additions”. There never is, and then you end up with a stack of 50 menus from every event in the cupboard. Either recycle them, or use them as note cards. We have stacks next to the phones in the office. Some stationers (like one of our favs, Babooche Caligraphy) now use recycled paper, and it’s beautiful.
  1. Everyone over-orders, because as event managers we are programmed to believe that throwing away a lot of food is far better than someone turning up and not being able to eat. I understand that fear, but when there are so many people going Hungry in London, nevermind the world, wouldn’t it be nice to give some of that leftover food away rather than putting it in the bin?

 

Quite simply some things to think about which might help us all reduce our waste and be a little bit more eco friendly on events.