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Sustainability is one of the hottest topics in the event industry right now, and with good reason. According to MeetGreen, the sustainable event management agency, the typical conference attendee produces 1.89KG of waste per day, 1.16KG of which will go directly to a landfill.

Now factor in that there are around 85 million event attendees per year across the UK, and these figures more than justify the urgent need for sustainability and eco-friendly events, and the importance of choosing a venue with the right environmental credentials.

Here we offer up some tips to help you make your corporate event more sustainable.

1. Reduce general waste.

Common types of waste are likely to include plastic bottles, paper and cardboard, glass, food waste, general waste.

A good idea is to identify the most common waste streams and evaluate current disposal methods, then restrict the waste coming into your venue.

This way you can fit your recycling containers with customised recycling signs to show which items can go in each bin. Make it clear to visitors before the event what items will be permitted into the venue.

Implementing an effective recycling scheme and running more sustainable events can save thousands of pounds a year in waste disposal costs. 

2. Reduce plastic.

There’s an excessive amount of plastic in our lives, and much of it at events in the use of water bottles and cups, straws, name badges, signs, packaging and so on, even though there are sustainable alternatives to all of these. 

A ban on single use plastics would help, as would getting the venue to cooperate in this. Suggest that they provide water stations with biodegradable cups and eco-friendly utensils. You could also encourage delegates to bring their own reusable bottles.

Think too about any freebies you are offering: mouse mats, pens, keyrings, whatever. What are they made of? Is there a more sustainable option? And do your clients really need these novelty items? If they’re just going to end up on a landfill, is it really worth producing them?

Make your signage reusable. And think twice about decorating with balloons – they don’t recycle.

3. Transport management.

Delegates travelling to and from your event can create quite a large environmental impact. Some of them might travel from across the world to get to an event, so wherever possible ensure they travel in groups or via public transport.

If possible, lay on coaches to reduce the number of cars that are brought to the venue.

Better still, make sure your venue is accessible by public transport. For instance, the Cooper Associates County Ground has a train station nearby – within just a 1-mile walk of the venue. There’s also cycle accessibility and bike racks, as well as local buses that run frequently close to the site.

4. Choose the right venue.

For all the right reasons it’s important to work with environmentally conscious venues that are trying to ensure as little impact on the environment as possible.

It helps if these venues have their own environmental management system, or are at least making an effort to reduce their environmental impact.

You could also choose locations that are nearer to event participants to reduce the overall need to travel.

And why not try to select venues with emission reduction programmes, including green energy usage? All of these factors add up.

5. Avoid food waste.

Food waste is one of today’s biggest environmental problems. A study by MeetGreen found that food waste reduction, food donation and composting could reduce 40% of conference event waste.

With that in mind it makes sense to choose caterers for your event that are local to the venue, and if possible to use organic produce, which will not only reduce transport related emissions but will also be kinder to the environment.

Events can often have a great deal of leftover food. Rather than simply letting it go to waste, offer it to local charities in advance who will probably be pleased to collect any leftovers.

The best way to avoid food waste is to choose an event venue who use someone local for their catering. Cooper Associates County Ground work with BaxterStorey who use fresh, locally sourced and seasonal produce.

6. Event technology.

An event venue’s technology, lighting, sound, virtual experiences and so on, can help to shrink your event’s carbon footprint by providing virtual and hybrid options for attendees.

The Meetings & Events Team at Cooper Associates County Ground can help you to present your trade show, conference, seminar, workshop or meeting as a live, in-person event with a virtual, digital or online component which aims to create a similar experience for all attendees, whether at the venue or logging on from home or work.

An event app is also a good idea that will do away with the need for paper documents such as agendas, and deliver smooth check-ins, lead retrieval, networking, digital resources and much more.

If you’re looking to make conscious steps to make your event more sustainable then speak to the team at Cooper Associates County Ground. Enquire about your event today!