5 ways to reduce waste at your conference venue

If you manage a conference venue you will be well aware of the difficulties faced when trying to reduce waste produced at your premises.  But our 5-point plan will give guidance on how, by introducing some simple measures, you can increase recycling and help waste reduction.

Point one - Planning

  • Create a recycling program at your venue – this could include installing specific bins for recycling and, if you produce large volumes of paper/cardboard waste, the installation of a baler maybe prudent. 
  • Arrange for a regular recycling collections – rebates can be generated from the sale of recyclable materials so you are not only diverting this waste stream from landfill by recycling it, you may also be creating a revenue streams for your venue.
  • Prior to an event, evaluate whether hard copy materials really need to be sent out in advance.  Do you really need to send a paper/card invitation?  Could registration be done electronically?

Point two – Refreshments

  • Plan how you can minimise waste from refreshments at your venue. 
  • Ask your caterers to use recyclable materials wherever possible
  • Explore what schemes, such as shelters and food banks are available locally to take your leftover food.
  • Install food bins for organic food waste, peelings etc.  This can be turned into valuable compost or, by installing a biomass boiler as venue Nailcote Hall has done, can be used to generate power, in this case to heat their onsite swimming pool
  • Where possible use reusable cutlery and tableware rather than plastic

Point three - Meetings and presentations

Prior to each event, contact your speakers and discuss ways to help keep volumes of waste down.  This could be by:

Avoiding paper handouts

  • Utilising computerised presentations via projector and screens
  • If you do have to print, use double sided prints rather than multiple single sheets
  • Encourage the use of reusable branded materials such as posters that don’t date

Introduce electronic registration at your events – iPads and laptops can be used to register guests rather than printed lists of delegates.

Point four - PR and outreach

In e-mail communication prior to your event, make sure you communicate your waste-reduction ethos to all those attending. Provide details of the measures you have in place and how visitors can help maintain the waste-reduction drive.  Explain how and where they can recycle materials, and what happens to all the waste produced during the day.  If this can be illustrated in terms of trees saved etc this would be a powerful tool.

Make sure employees at the venue are informed about all the measures in place.  During the planning stages, ask for their input.  After introducing the measures to reduce waste you could add an infographic to your website showing how successful your waste reduction has been.

Point five - On the day

  • Have a re-usable display showing the measures you have put in place to reduce waste.
  • Ensure bins are visible with clear instructions on what to put in each bin
  • Make your ethos clear

Conclusion

Although it may seem daunting to introduce a waste reduction programme at your conference venue, it doesn’t have to be onerous.  As detailed above if you consult, plan, implement, communicate and educate you will be well on your way to being a more environmentally-friendly venue.

ACM helps many hotels and venues to take the Greener Path to becoming a more sustainable facility.  See the work we have done at West Ham United and Radisson for example.

8 TIPS
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