Events generate a substantial amount of unnecessary waste, adding to an already concerning amount produced each year in the UK. With sustainability taking centre stage in the event planning industry, new festivals are emerging with a focus on saving the planet and already established events are taking substantial measures to reduce their carbon footprint.
Recently, the UK's largest outdoor event Glastonbury Festival declared 2019 was their most eco-friendly year to date after banning single-use bottle for all 200,000 festivalgoers, performers and staff. The festival also boasts multiple stages running on cooking oil, one of the largest solar panels in the country and 1,300 recycling volunteers.
Shambala, a family-friendly festival in Northamptonshire countryside, is a festival powered entirely by renewable energy. This year, the festival stopped serving meat, fish, cow’s milk and told festivalgoers not to wear glitter, in return, reducing its carbon footprint by over 80%.
An eco-friendly or "green" event takes into consideration the environmental impact of each aspect of the event, from the miles of travel to kilowatts of power, the amount of food wastage to the companies represented. By planning a green event, you plan to waste as little energy, water and natural resources as possible as well as limit greenhouse gas emissions and general waste.
While small efforts like recycling bins at an event help, customers want to see a holistic approach in reducing an event's carbon footprint. Whether planning a street fair, music festival, or brand promotion, there are simple ways to reduce the negative impact your event has on the environment.
Here are a few steps to take towards organising a greener, more sustainable event:
1. Go paperless
Sometimes it's the small changes that have the biggest impact and going paperless significantly helps reduce your carbon footprint. By sending digital invitations through email, attendees can be updated quickly on any event changes. Event pages and apps allow all visitor information to be stored in one place, reducing the need for printed handouts such as event programmes.
2. Location and transportation
The location and transportation of your event is a huge opportunity to cut down on your carbon footprint. By choosing an eco-friendly location with good public transport links, you reduce the need for cars while making attendees experience easier and more enjoyable. If attendees are travelling from outside of town, ensure eco-friendly hotels are nearby.
3. Think event structure
If you or an exhibitor requires an event structure for your event, opt for an upcycled shipping container rather than a bespoke tent or inflatable shelter. More sustainable, event shipping containers can be fully branded for your event and then reused for another.
4. Remove potential waste
Follow in Glastonbury Festival footprints and ban single-use plastic water bottles and individually wrapped items. If handing goodie bags out, ensure the contents is useful to prevent items from being discarded after the event. If staff are required to wear a uniform, ask them to wear clothes they already own in a specific colour or purchase uniform that can be reused.
5. Recycle waste
When choosing your event venue or location, check to see if a recycling system in place. If one isn’t in place, you will need to source a local recycling company who can pick up the waste after the event. Providing recycling bins onsite is a necessity for all events.
6. Opt for sustainable catering
Make sure your event's menu has a small carbon footprint by opting for seasonal and local produce. If hiring a cater, ensure they work green and keep food miles to a minimum. Confirm the number of attendees with your caterer to keep food waste to a minimal and donate any uneaten food to a local charity.
By implementing a few eco-friendly changes to your events and choosing to go green in 2020, you're positively influencing the environment while creating a positive affinity for your brand, creating stronger advocates.
For more information on sustainable event structures and hiring an event shipping container, contact The Events Structure today on 0161 821 1010.