How to Make Your Next Event More Sustainable (Green) and Why It Matters

As an event planner, the last thing you probably want to hear about is another thing to consider while planning your next event. Your list of responsibilities is already seemingly endless, so adding one more thing to your plate may seem unrealistic. 

Hear us out though, putting in the effort to make your event more sustainable is not only worth the investment, but also not as difficult as it may seem. 

In this post, we will review the amount of waste created at events, some strategies you can implement while planning your next event to help it be more green-friendly, and why it matters. 

Event Waste and Footprint 

EventMB and MeetGreen teamed up to put together some stats and graphics that look at the footprint of a typical conference. 

When looking at the waste that an average conference attendee throws away in a day that actually ends up in a landfill, the number is about 1.16kg or 2.56lbs. When you take that number and apply it to a 3-day, 1000 person conference, you get 3,480kg or about 7,672lbs. Which according to the article is the weight of 2.6 compact cars. 

Infographic showing how much waste a typical event creates, showing the impact on why it's important to make events sustainable

It’s then important to look at waste categories. The article states that a mid-size corporate trade show will go through tons of waste and about 41% of that will end up in landfills. And this is assuming that the event has a good composting and recycling program. 

Infographic describing what is thrown out and waste at events

Finally, it’s important to look at what all goes into the carbon footprint of a similar mid-sized tradeshow with about 5000 attendees. The major one that many event planners might not think about is the carbon footprint of air travel which can be difficult to adjust for event sustainability. For a conference of this size, it’s estimated that 70% of the footprint is from attendees traveling to and from by plane. 

infographic about what contributes to an events carbon footprint

Ways to Make Events More Green 

Now that we’ve taken a look at the amount of waste and the carbon footprint of events, let’s look at some simple strategies that you can put in place to make your event more sustainable: 

  • Provide a Virtual OptionIn these post-pandemic days, this might seem like a given for reasons other than sustainability. But, when you consider that 70% of the carbon footprint caused by events comes from air travel, it’s easy to see how having a virtual option can help cut this down. Less travel, less footprint. 
  • Hold the Event in a Centralized Location – While this might not always be an option for events that appeal to a nationwide audience, it’s important to be cognizant of where your events are being held. For instance, if you are holding a California-based event, consider a middle-of-state location so those from southern and northern California can consider driving and carpooling with coworkers. For those events that will have people flying in, the closer to the airport the better as it cuts down on the additional travel needed by car, bus, or train. 
  • Hold the Event at a Hotel or Facility With Green Initiatives Already in Place – Many hotels and facilities may already have their own green initiatives in place to cut down on their carbon footprint. By choosing to hold your event at venues like this, you are supporting green initiatives and limiting your impact. 
  • Encourage Reusable Water Bottles – Most events provide water and other beverages for attendees. Buying a lot of plastic water bottles to give out just leads to additional waste. Encourage attendees to bring their own reusable bottles to fill up at designated stations, or consider handing out branded bottles at registration that can be used if attendees forgot to bring their own. Encourage exhibitors to offer sustainable swag at their booths.

Why Sustainability Matters

We aren’t here to wax poetic about the importance of being climate-conscious and green-friendly, but we do want to offer a perspective you might not be thinking of. 

In today’s world a large portion of the population cares greatly about reducing their carbon footprint and abiding by sustainability best-practices. In fact, a survey by Southern Cross University shows that 77% of people want to learn how to live more sustainably. Another report from the Pew Research Center shows that 80% of people are willing to change their behaviors to fight climate change. 

With these stats in mind, you can see how being a green-friendly event can actually be a competitive advantage. In your event marketing materials, you can advertise the strategies you have put in place which can attract people to potentially choose your event over others. 

Additionally, limiting waste and implementing sustainability best practices can be a direct cost savings for your company from a food and beverage perspective. 


eTech Rentals provides many solutions to help organize and produce sustainable events, virtual conferences, such as video recording kits for pre-recorded speaker presentations, 5G hotspots for consistent and reliable internet connections, and laptops with pre-installed live streaming apps. We even have light, mic and greenscreen options to add a extra level of professionalism to your video content. As you are planning your next event, consider keeping sustainability and green-friendly practices in mind, and reach out to us here at eTech for any assistance on the technical side of event planning. 

About eTech Rentals

eTech Rentals is a national technology solutions provider located in Southern California specializing in rental technology integration. eTech is committed to long-standing client relationships and consistent, reliable local service, trusted by expert event planners, film and entertainment production companies, and businesses in California and nationwide.
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