It's easy being green! Below are some tips for meetings, hotels, and work places to follow to reduce their waste and create a happier and healthier environment for all.
Green Practices for Meeting Planners
A green meeting incorporates environmental considerations throughout all stages of the meeting process in order to minimize the negative impact on the environment. An average meeting produces 61 pounds of solid waste, uses 846 gallons of water, produces 1,419 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and a typical five-day conference for 2,500 attendees will use 90,000 cans or bottles, 75,000 cups and 87,500 napkins.
- Include environmental criteria in the RFP and contracts.
- All catering plates, cups and glasses to be china or glass (non-disposable). If plastic they must be washable and no styrofoam under any circumstances
- All napkins to be cloth. Use coasters instead of cocktail napkins whenever possible.
- Separate recycling bins for attendees to use at all catered functions, registration, and especially on the exhibit floor
- Any leftover food donated to a local food bank or mission. (see the federal bill emerson good samaritan food donation act)
- Paperless registration and communication. Does the hotel have paperless checkout procedures?
- If paper is used, please double-side whenever possible.
- Is the hotel located within walking distance to other city attractions or easily accessible by public transportation?
- Request the hotel not to change the sheets and towels daily unless requested; not to replace the amenities daily unless they are gone; request hotels' housekeeping staff to shut blinds and turn down the heat/airconditioning during the day in rooms while attendees are gone.
- Choose food in season from the local area.
- When providing promotional products please use recycled content if available.
- Evaluate the green event and celebrate its success.
Green Practices for Hotels
- Implement a recycling program.
- Install water-saving devices for all showerheads, toilets, and faucets.
- Encourage recycling in guestrooms by placing a bin in each room.
- Use soap, shampoo, and lotion dispensers versus individual bottles.
- Set up a linen and towel reuse program.
- Install programmable thermostats in all guestrooms.
- Guests and housekeeping should shut blinds, turn off lights, and turn down the heat or air-conditioning in empty guestrooms.
- Use water pitcher and glasses or decomposable cups.
- Utilize bulk containers instead of sugar, jam, and syrup individual serving packets.
- Encourage bag lunches versus box lunches.
- Use living plants as centerpieces instead of cut flowers. If you must use cut flowers, recycle at several events.
Many of the Albany County hotels already have green practices in place. Please check each individual website for additional information.
Green Practices for Work Places
- All printers and copiers default to two-sided printing
- Make all letters two-sided
- Ditch the bottled water and bring your favorite water container or coffee cup from home that can be washed and reused
- Make sure all your office lighting is fluorescent
- Keep your office thermostat at a lower, but comfortable level
For additional green information, please visit the Green Industry Council at http://www.greenmeetings.info/ or Meeting Planners International at http://www.mpiweb.org/.