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Sustainable Event Greening Guide

Tips for reducing the environmental impact of your next event

Sustainability is achieved when the needs of the present population are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To achieve sustainability, we should examine the impact that our activities have on the environment and implement ways to reduce our consumption of resources and our generation of waste. In keeping with the efforts of Vanderbilt to become a more sustainable campus, the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office has developed this Sustainable Event Greening Guide in order to provide those planning on-campus events with the tools they need to lessen the environmental impact of the conferences, meetings, social gatherings, and other events that they plan each year.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The basis of environmental sustainability rests on the concept of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, in that order. The first step in “greening” is to REDUCE. This means making a conscious effort to lessen your consumption of resources and products on a day to day basis, whether this is using a reusable coffee mug instead of a disposable cup, or emailing or printing double-sided copies at work to save paper. Reducing your consumption of resources also reduces the waste you produce.

Reducing waste means looking for products that you can easily REUSE, which is the second step. You might repurpose items yourself or you can look for places to donate unwanted products to someone else or a charity so others can reuse them.

To close the waste loop, any product that cannot be reused, you should attempt to RECYCLE.

Specific ways you can reduce, reuse, and recycle will be discussed in more detail throughout this guide in the linked categories listed below.

By its very nature, a large event or meeting brings people together who must travel, who will consume food and products, and who will produce waste. These guidelines were developed to help you think about the environmental impact of your event and how to minimize that impact as much as possible. More specific information pertaining to event transportation, communication, catering, decorating, waste minimization, and recycling is discussed within this guide’s contents.


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Version 4, February 2012