As a meeting planner, your number one priority is to make sure that your attendees are happy and satisfied. However, meeting planners also feel a growing obligation to be environmentally-conscious, choosing meeting options that leave a smaller carbon footprint on our planet. Working with an eco-friendly meeting facility like Monona Terrace, you can reduce your impact on the environment without impacting a meeting’s appearance and efficiency.
The following list includes some suggestions for green meeting practices, as well as common environmentally friendly requests from meeting planners. With the right meeting location, and a few easy choices, your event will be both successful and sustainable.
Things you can do:
- Extend the life of your conference bags. Non-plastic bags made from recycled materials can be useful for years. However, for those attendees that have a surplus of conference bags, donation boxes at the end of the event can be a good alternative. Many charitable organizations put them to good use, and everyone from students to human service organizations can benefit. If you can eliminate the need for conference bags altogether, even better.
- Give out reusable water bottles. Not only will you eliminate plastic waste, but bottles with logos can make for another great giveaway for meeting participants.
- Minimize program handouts. Post information online instead of printing everything, or allow the attendee to choose whether or not to print materials. It’s easy, fast, and free. In addition, fantastic A/V staff can help make sure that your electronic presentations run as smoothly as possible.
- Invest in permanent sign stock. Many events require the same information for attendees, so consider creating signs that can be reused from one meeting to the next.
Things your meeting host can do for you:
- Buy local and/or organic foods. Monona Catering can oblige many requests for more sustainable food choices. At Monona Terrace, we are proud to support local farmers and reduce our carbon footprint.
- Use china and glassware instead of disposable cups and utensils. Statistics from the Clean Air Council indicate that Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons each year to circle the equator approximately 300 times. Reduce your waste by using china or regular dinnerware.
- Supply a water station. Provide personalized, refillable water bottles for your attendees, or rest assured that your green meeting host is using environmentally friendly products. For example, the cups used at Monona Terrace are made of “green” and environmentally-friendly Ingeo™ biopolymer, a PLA resin derived entirely from plants.
- Green Management of Food Waste. Many meeting sites choose to eliminate food waste by donating untouched food to food shelters. On site caterer, Monona Catering, not only donates 7,000 pounds of food each year to local pantries, but composts almost 20 tons of food scraps per year.
As a LEED-EB silver certified building, Monona Terrace already maintains high standards for sustainability. From green cleaning products to environmentally preferred purchases, we make sustainable practices a priority. Working with a meeting facility that has the expertise to facilitate a cost effective, environmentally sound event is a win-win for meeting planners and attendees, as well as our planet. Contact our team of professionals today to get started!
Meg Statz, Event Services Manager, Monona Terrace