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'green' events planning

In line with 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, it is important that we take steps towards implementing sustainability in our day-to-day activities. This includes events – a major component of our industry.


There are many things that event planners, service providers and meeting participants may do as a means of contributing to sustainable and responsible event management.

Here are a few simple ‘green’ meeting tips:

1. Use online registration to reduce paper usage

Forget about archaic paper registration methods. Use an online registration tool. Online registration and ticketing not only eliminates excess printed materials but also saves time. Participants love being able to register from any device at any time. Check out Eventbrite, an example of a low-cost online event registration mobile app that can be used to promote and manage your event events.

2. Use electronic communication and marketing

Save a tree by going digital. Send out invitations, real time information, announcements and updates through online media and other online channels. electronic devicesDraw attention to eco-friendly aspects of your event with digital signage and information.

3. Choose a green venue

The venues, and their facilities, have a huge impact on the sustainability of your event. Consider first whether the building itself is certified, for example, by the US Green Building Council. Select an event site that’s easily accessible by foot, bicycle or public transport. This reduces the carbon footprint of your event. If your event is attracting international delegates, give them ‘green’ hotel options.

4. Encourage sustainable transportation

Choose energy efficient, hybrid or electric vehicles for your event. Encourage delegates to travel by public transportation by making it easy for them to navigate. As an alternative, set up carpool service (e.g. liftshare.com) or shuttle bus service for your attendees. Find out more about how to commute in an eco-friendly way; check out 30 ideas on green event transportation.

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5. Recycle and reduce waste at events

Provide bins for recycling and composting to minimise waste-to-landfill. Make recycling stations highly visible and accessible. Liaise with the venue management team about arrangements for composting food waste and donating any excess food to local charities.

6. Minimise energy use

Using natural light instead of artificial light reduces bills and helps the environment. Where electric lighting is required, make the switch to LED bulbs. Switch off lighting and equipment when it is not being used.

7. Go local

Use local vendors for ancillary services such as food, décor, gift items, and rentals. This reduces emissions and gives important support the local economies. Hire local staff to reduce travel times, costs and pollution.

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8. Inspire sustainable practices

Educate and inspire attendees by making your ‘green’ event practices highly visible to all stakeholders, including the public and the media. Encourage responsible behaviour among all stakeholders and foster understanding and appreciation of sustainability by adapting the PATA Responsible Business Travel Guidelines. Finally, check out our favourite 5 tips to become a responsible green delegate.

 

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Recycling Tips for Your Post-Holiday Waste

Categories: Green Tips, People and Places, Planet, Waste
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Wondering how to deal with all that decorations and waste from gift giving after the holiday season? Here are 5 handy tips for your post-holiday waste:


  #1: Christmas Trees 

Don’t throw away your Christmas trees when the holiday is over. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes. Learn how to recycle your Christmas tree and give it a second life.

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 #2: LED Lights 

If your lights still work after the holiday season, reuse them for as long as possible. When they can no longer be used, take the time to help the environment and have them turned in for recycling. Check out where and how to recycle your old lights.

#3: Gift Wrappingshutterstock_167381660

Don’t just toss wrapping paper, boxes, ribbons, bows, or other gift wrap accessories that are in good shape. You can preserve recycle wrapping paper of all kinds by unwrapping your gifts carefully and save wrapping for crafts as well as future celebrations or holidays. Here are 19 ways to repurpose gift wrap, plus another 30 fun ways to reuse leftover gift wrap.

#4: Cards 

Wondering what to do with all the holiday cards after the holidays are long gone? It’s time to get crafty – check out these websites for more ideas on recycling and reuse your used holiday cards:

#5: Gift

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Amazon Give Back Box (photo credit: Amazon)

Are your gifts not quite your taste? Here’s what you can do with unwanted gifts after the holiday.

Let’s us make an effort to be ‘zero-waste’ in time for New Year’s, and beyond!

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6 Simple Tips to a Food Waste-Free Holiday

Categories: Green Tips, Planet, Waste
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During the holiday season, nobody wants to run out of food when holding a party or hosting a meal. To avoid embarrassment, we often end up preparing too much food, but don’t know how to manage the leftovers!

Did you know that food waste is one of the world’s biggest waste contributors? According to recycleworks.org, household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. At least 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year – equating to over 100 pounds per person.

Here are some tips for a food waste-free holiday.

  1. Plan Ahead!

Planning menus in advance can limit waste. Get the head count of your guests to coordinate your recipe measurements to the perfect proportions, reducing the risk of impulse purchases. Check out Love Food Hate Waste for portion planning, storage tips and recipes.

  1. Store Properly

Rotten or spoiled food is the ultimate bummer. Storing food properly in the fridge or freezer ensures a longer shelf life and less food in the trash. Consider using the app Fridgely to record and track what’s in your fridge.

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  1. Leftovers into Makeovers

Don’t let your leftovers go to waste. Transform your holiday leftovers into completely new dishes. Here are some awesome recipes to incorporate your holiday leftovers.

  1. Leftover Pooling Party

Throw a leftovers pooling party to cut down on food waste, save money and be united with the community in the process. This is a great way to clear out the fridge especially during the post-holiday season. Find out more about leftovers pooling party ideas here. Visit to our Green Tips article for a quick checklist of actions you can take to avoid or reduce food waste at your events.

  1. Donate to Feed the Hungry

If you still end up with too much food, find your local food bank and donate it to those in need. Check out our Green Tips articles on Rescue Food Scraps and Donate to Food Banks.

  1. Compost 

If food really cannot be eaten, at the very least, compost what you can. Here is a list of foods that you can and cannot compost. Also, try these simple solutions to reduce waste at home and the office.

food waste-freeReducing our food waste during the holiday season generates a host of benefits from saving money to conserving our planet. But don’t stop when the holiday season is over and keep the zero waste spirit year round.

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Go green this Christmas with eco-friendly decorations

Categories: Energy, Green Tips, Planet, Waste
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The festive season is here! You can already see red and green decorations and hear ‘Silent Night’ being played everywhere you go. Homes are lit up with fairy lights and Christmas trees are being put up and decorated. But do try not to get too carried away by the holiday spirit and forget all those sustainable habits that you’ve been working on so successfully in 2016.

Check out our tips on how you can make your Christmas even ‘greener’ by decorating your home and office with eco-friendly decorations:

Photo credits: carlaaston.com

Photo credits: carlaaston.com

  • Christmas Trees – If you plan on purchasing a real tree we recommend getting a ‘living tree’, which you can grow outside after the holidays and reuse every year (How to choose a living Christmas tree). In countries like the US and the UK there are companies where you can rent trees. For those who prefer artificial/plastic trees, we suggest that you buy second-hand and use it for as long as you can. Check out websites such as Ebay, Freecycle, Freegle, Craigslist or Gumtree to find your perfect tree.
  • Décor – Be creative and do-it-yourself! Look around your house for materials you can reuse to make wreaths, ornaments and garlands. You can even spruce up last year’s decorations and reuse them. Another option is to ask your family and friends if they would like to trade holiday décor.

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  • Gift Wrapping – Hate receiving junk mail? Instead of putting it directly into the recycle bin you can use it to wrap gifts instead! You can also use old calendars, magazines and newspapers. Read on for eco-friendly and reusable gift wrap ideas.

Finally, wherever you are in the world we wish you a Happy Christmas and a fabulous eco-friendly New Year!

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Today, the United States observes Thanksgiving – an event commonly associated with the arrival of Pilgrims and Puritans from England in the early 17th century.

Tomorrow is Black Friday – where shops in America (and other countries) offer big discounts and sales to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The shopping frenzy that occurs on Black Friday results in excessive consumerism with millions of people around the world purchasing goods, often without giving much thought to the environmental effects of their production and disposal.

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Here are some ways to counter the negative impacts of conspicuous consumption:

Go Against the Grain – Buy Nothing! buy keep-calm-and-dont-shop-green
Grassroots organisations that aim to increase people’s awareness to excessive consumerism have been gaining ground. One of the more popular movements is ‘Buy Nothing Day’ (BND) which intentionally occurs on Black Friday. Instead of consuming, thousands of people from at least 60 countries who take part go on a 24-hour spending detox.

In addition to buying nothing, BND supporters also organise activities like “zombie walks”, where participants walk around shopping malls with blank stares in their faces. There is also the “Wildcat General Strike” where people keep all their lights, electronics and other appliances turned off for a day. They don’t use their mobile phones or cars either!

Saturday Splurge
Critics of Buy Nothing Day point out that people tend to go on a shopping binge the day after. In comes ‘Small Business Saturday’ where shoppers are encouraged to support local economies by spending their money on local and independent shops instead of big retailers. (Here’s why it’s important.) Last year, American Express, a founding partner of the event, reported that 95 million people went out to shop at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, spending US$14.3 billion on purchases.

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Don’t Stop There
Being a sustainable shopper shouldn’t be limited to the holiday season. It is a conscious choice we should make with every single purchase. As always, the ultimate goal is living a life that is healthy for us and therefore the environment. Making sustainable choices is a lifetime challenge, but do it often enough and it becomes second-nature.

Remember that you’re not alone in this fight! Check out our Green Tips articles on how to form new sustainable habits and apps for a sustainable lifestyle.

And stay tuned next week, as we shine a light on people living alternative green lifestyles (think minimalists, freegans and dumpster divers).

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What To Do With Pumpkin Waste

Categories: Green Tips, Waste
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Now that Halloween is officially over, what do to with all those scary jack-o-lanterns? According to this video from OLIO, an app that helps us live more sustainably by connecting neighbours to prevent food waste, more than 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins are wasted every year in the United Kingdom. In the United States this translates to 1.3 billion pounds of organic matter that’s used as decoration for one night.

If tossed in a landfill along with other household trash, pumpkins emit greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming, according to the US Department of Energy.  So, at the very least, compost your pumpkins, donate them to a local farmers’ market or community garden, or check with local restaurants or government agencies about options for efficient food waste disposal.

Better yet, eat it!

Below are some delicious recipes for your pumpkin.

Pumpkin pie
Roast pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin soup
Pumpkin muffins
… and 50 more!

If none of these whet your appetite, save the pumpkin for the animals. Porcupines, birds, and even pet dog will enjoy a pumpkin dinner.

Waste not, want not.

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A 20-Year-Old Dutch Inventor has Come Up with a Solution to the Ocean’s Plastic Problem

Categories: Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea, Uncategorized, Waste
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Boyan Slat, the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, announced that his company plans to deploy a series of V-shaped floating barriers that would capture trash without harming sea life.

The Ocean Cleanup Organisation will be installing a 328ft-long (100 metre) barrier segment in the summer of 2016 in the North Sea, 14 miles (23km) off the coast of The Netherlands.

By Positive True NewsRead more.

 

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2015 PATA Grand Award– Environment
The Success of Self-reliance
Jetwing Yala, Yala, Sri Lanka

Jetwing YalaAkin to a phoenix rising from the ashes – recovering after a decade from the devastating tsunami of 2004 – Jetwing brings a truly ‘at-one-with-nature’ concept to a more refined and elegant form with Jetwing Yala. Set within the immediate outskirts of the Yala National Park, Jetwing Yala boasts a tremendous commitment to sustainability and the environment, bringing a wildlife experience complemented with the finest in luxury and comfort. Designed by renowned architect Murad Ismail, the 90 room property overlooks spectacular sand dunes and the Indian Ocean and is a landmark that changes the face of the deep south of Sri Lanka. Jetwing Yala has been created from ground up to be as sustainable as possible with the intention of conserving energy and resources, reusing and recycling and being a part of the environment whilst causing no harm to nature.

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Central Hospitality InternationalCentral Hospitality International had their Sustainable event of Eco-friendly Holiday Tree competition 2015.

We create much waste each year and it is important to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Especially during the holiday seasons are the events which always create a lot of waste per year. There are many things we can do to reduce the waste we create and be able to celebrate guilt free festive season together. Central Hospitality International had 22 hotels in Thailand join the campaign and the awards go to:

1st Award Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi

2nd Award Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin

3rd Award Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld

4th Award Centara Watergate Pavilion Hotel Bangkok

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Waste disposal is expensive – for your pocket and for our planet, our only home.

ed_DSC0499_lowAccording to Green Hotelier’s “Waste Management,” a hotel guest generates about 1kg (2lb) of waste per night, more than half of it in paper, plastic and cardboard. In addition to negative environmental impact, minimizing the amount of waste a business produces is important because waste has rising cost implications in both disposal and initial purchase, if the materials are not used. As described by Green Hotelier, in the UK, for example, landfilling costs are now £48 per tonne (1.1 tons) compared to £18 a tonne in 2005.

Tourism operators generate a range of different wastes. The size and type of operation will influence how much waste is produced. The location of the tourism operation will also affect the impact its waste has on the surrounding community and environment. By considering the availability of possible reuse and recycling options, we help reduce waste to landfills.

Reducing the amount of waste is one of the simplest and most effective ways for tourism operators to both reduce their environmental impact and improve their bottom line. Here are some more resources to help you start: