Reducing the Environmental Impact of your Events on World Environmental Day
In honour of World Environmental Day on 5th June, we're sharing some tips to make your event more sustainable.
Here at Anopia Events, we are super passionate about making our events as sustainable as possible. There are lots of small things you can do which will have a big impact to reduce the environmental impact of your event. Take a look at our easy-to implement tips on how to make your event as environmentally friendly as possible:
Calculate your event's impact
Before you start planning, you need to calculate your event's current impact on the environment. There are a number of aspects you need to consider, such as power use, transport, food waste, and litter. You may find it easier to divide the event into categories and analyse each section one by one. Have a clear plan of how you will improve each aspect of the event and what the cost and impact will be, before you sign any contracts or make any decisions.
If you run events regularly, make sure you are monitoring your improvement and including sustainability in your debrief so you can learn from your mistakes.
Work with sustainable suppliers
Spend time getting to know your suppliers and ask them about their best practices and what they do to reduce their environmental impact. If you're working on a tender process, the best time to get this information is when they're pitching for the work, as it will force them to think outside the box. This is particularly important when it comes to your venue, as hotels and conference centres can have a significant environmental impact. We only work with suppliers who have the same quality and ethics that we uphold.
Food & Drink
People often over-calculate the amount of food required at an event, as no one wants to run out of food. Your venue or caterer should be able to advise how much you need, so always make sure you calculate accordingly, and always go for quality over quantity. Consider donating any unused food to a local charity who can distribute this for you to a good cause. Although some places will only take sealed food, there are many local companies who will come and take the excess food off your hands. Alternatively, there are companies which specialise in using food that would otherwise have gone to waste, such as imperfect fruit and veg.
Importantly, always use fresh, local food where you can. Reducing food milage is a great way to cut down your environmental impact and it will help you support the local area too.
Another tip when hosting events is to add food or catering notes to your event de-brief, so you can better inform future decisions when deciding on catering and ensuring that you improve time and time again.
Waste should be one of the key aspects you consider to improve the environmental impact of your events. Try not to use single-use materials, but if you do, make sure they are recyclable. You can easily swap bottled water for glass carafes, or packaged biscuits for fresh cookies, and these can make your event feel more luxurious too. Reduce waste paper by making a digital app or e-programme where your guests can download all of the resources they need onto their tablets or laptops. This may be more expensive, but it is a worthwhile investment, particularly when you have a significant amount of guests attending. Similarly, you don't need to provide guests with gimmicky branded items like pens or stress balls. Chances are they won't be used and will go to waste, so if you'd like to provide gifts, make it's something useful or something beautiful.
Another idea is to encourage your guests to bring their own re-usable mugs and give out free coffee and tea for those that do. If you warn people in advance, it will be well appreciated, especially if the event is starting early!
We also recommend having clearly labelled recycling bins around the event space, as many of your guests will gladly recycle their waste themselves. This will save you time later on and can have a huge impact on your sustainability.
Power consumption is something we often use without thinking too much about the long-term effects. As we expect to see garden parties rise in popularity, consider which elements of your event significantly contribute to power wastage. For example, can you turn the lights off in a section of the garden that’s not being used, or omit them altogether and rely only on natural light? Blankets would add to your event atmosphere rather than power hungry heaters, and can make for a more cosy, intimate feel.
When choosing your venue, think ahead to how participants or guests will need to travel to get to your event. If you're hosting it outside of a big city, it's likely that many people will need to drive. Create incentives for lift sharing, or even better, arrange transport such as coaches or mini buses which can get guests safely from A-B. Your suppliers will also have an impact on this, make sure you are using local suppliers to cut down on fuel milage. This is likely to also save you money which can be better spent elsewhere!
It's really easy to overdo it when it comes to event decor, and it can be really wasteful and costly too. Consider hiring items rather than buying them; you might be able to get cheap items from other countries on website such as Ebay or Amazon, but hiring items supports local businesses and means that the items you use can be enjoyed time and time again by other people.
For private events, you could choose to hire vintage or antique furniture; comfy armchairs, old wine barrels and long, wooden benches can really add a cosiness to your event and look really impactful in certain venues.
Alternatively, why not choose a really beautiful venue that doesn't need decorating? An old church, refurbished factory or beautiful barn are all really interesting places to host an event, will be a great talking point, and will mean you don't need to spend a fortune on decor items.
We all love seeing fresh flowers at an event, but make sure you're sourcing in-season flowers and look at containers which don't use oasis or foam. To ensure they don't go to waste, make sure you give any bouquets or arrangements out to guests or speakers to enjoy afterwards.
All of these are simple and straightforward changes that you can make to your event without much effort, and often can improve the whole feel of your event. If you would like to find out more about how to make your event more environmentally friendly then we'd love to help!