Sustainability for Event Managers: How to Declare War on Waste

Sustainability for Event Managers: How to Declare War on Waste

8 min read
How Event Professionals are Leading the Way
Looking after our planet is everybody’s responsibility. Event professionals are leading the charge to reduce waste on a personal consumption level, in their day-to-day work practice and importantly, by producing more sustainable events.

Because every single effort counts.


What #EventProfs are doing to reduce waste in their day-to-day work and the events they produce. Click To Tweet

Sustainability: The Hot Topic

Thankfully, sustainability has become a hot topic. It’s all over the media. Our politicians are always debating environmental policy and climate change.

Sure, we’d love environmental protection initiatives to happen at a much faster rate, but at the very least people are becoming more aware and taking action. Hello, reusable coffee cups – we love the sight of you!

Looking at the events industry, sustainability keynote speakers have become highly sought after.

Case in point is Craig Reucassel, whose own War on Waste inspired the title of this article. Craig’s insights on waste reduction are enlightening, entertaining and very doable, making him well-liked as a keynote speaker. Ditto for Neil Glentworth and Jamie Durie, another two of our other favourite sustainability speakers.

How Event Planners Are Declaring War on Waste. Because every single effort counts. Click To Tweet

Event Managers Lead the Way

Globally, there are some incredible initiatives, such as Munich’s Oktoberfest, that demonstrate what’s achievable for Earth-friendly events. It’s also happening at the local level, signalling that event professionals are on board with sustainable living and working practices.

Earth-Friendly Events: The Only Way

Beyond the urgency of protecting Earth for future generations, creating events with a minimised carbon footprint carries massive benefits:

Reduces office overheads
Minimises event costs by reducing waste
Makes you feel proud of where you work and how you work
Attracts more clients and customers who also prioritise sustainability

Let’s now explore what event professionals do as soldiers in the war on waste, as consumers, in the workplace and at events.

Event Professionals as Mindful Consumers

Many of the Event Managers we know contribute on a daily basis by:

Using their own ‘keep’ coffee cup instead of the ubiquitous non-recyclable paper ones
Using public transport instead of driving to work
Cycling to work – fantastic!
Lunch – BYO container (or BYO leftovers lunch – even better!)
Use waxed fabric or glass containers to wrap food, instead of cling wrap
Carrying a refillable water bottle, not buying plastic bottles

These are easily achievable habits we can all adopt.

How Event Profs Demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility

Event management is a fast-paced role. It’s easy for an event manager to get caught up in the thick of their bursting to-do list and forget how much waste is happening around the office.

Here’s how leading Event Managers, with a little forethought and planning, are walking the talk of corporate social responsibility for looking after the environment.

Minimise Power Consumption
Switch off TVs, devices equipment when not in use
Keep an eye on temperature control – even a few degrees can make a significant difference to energy consumption.
Where is power being used? Does the store room really need to be cooled/heated?
Opt for laptops where possible as they use less power than desktop computers
Keep your screen brightness to a comfortable minimum
Minimise applications that open automatically when you start up your computer, and close any that aren’t in use
Switch to sensor lighting for bathrooms and meeting rooms, and energy efficient globes

Reduce Paper Usage
Avoid printing where possible
Use recycled paper
Use draft mode to print (saves toner)
Recycle all paper
Set printers to print on both sides and ensure everyone in the office knows how to activate double printing from their workstation
Shredding is essential for sensitive documents, and the shreds can be recycled

Reuse and Recycle

Make it easy for everybody to recycle with handy bins for:

Ink cartridges and toners

Plenty of greenery around the office is also helpful, besides looking lovely. Plants emit oxygen and reduce air pollution, cleansing the air in your workplace. Plants can also buffer the noise levels, which is handy for open plan offices.

#EventProfs are walking the talk of corporate social responsibility for looking after the #environment. Here's how. Click To Tweet

How to Plan Events With Sustainability in Mind

There are plenty of ways to reduce waste at all stages of event management, from planning through to implementation.

Event Planning
Webinars – use in-house platforms, or Skype/Zoom, minimising the need to travel for meetings with suppliers and others
Minimise paper usage/printing – use smart event planning tools. Our team has developed an Event Planner, Event Budgeter and Event Run Sheet that don’t need any paper, and will save you loads of precious time.
Use cycle couriers for deliveries, where possible

Try to select a venue that is easy to get to with public transport, or even walking. Other important things to consider when choosing a venue:

Do they have a sustainability / recycling / food salvage policy?
Do they use local, seasonal foods and not imported, packaged items?
Do they serve Fair Trade and/or organic, locally made coffee and tea
Do they serve tap water, not bottled
Arrange car-pooling for guests

Theming and decorating is lots of fun, but do keep in mind the environmental impact.

Hiring is a good way of reusing/recycling
Minimise printing of corporate banners and promotional signs – try to keep a standard set that can be used for multiple events


Choose local entertainers and keynote speakers where possible, to reduce unnecessary travel.

Most promotions can be conducted online
Digital invitations – why waste paper?
Use social channels to promote your event
Ticketing and registration at the event can be virtually paper-free

How to plan your #event with #sustainability in mind: clever solutions for #eventprofs. Click To Tweet

Every Small Effort Makes a Difference

Reducing waste in event management doesn’t belong in the ‘too-hard’ basket. A little bit of knowledge and a concerted, collective effort combine to make a huge difference. It’s our responsibility as Event Managers.

Share this Post

Next steps

About the Author

Gav George

When his school music teacher loaned him a cassette tape (yes, he's that old) of a fusion band, Gav entered the jazz world after years of classical music training. He was lucky enough to play with some of the greatest living jazz musicians and toured key festivals. Then Enhance founder Alison Clarke called on Gav to work on the company's marketing. This led him to his new passion of… marketing! Gav oversees Enhance's marketing initiatives, gets a kick out of connecting with clients and unearthing new talent. Gav still has that cassette tape, so if his music teacher reads this, please get in touch so he can return it.

Share this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *