The event industry has a bad reputation for waste. Several sources rank it in the top five most wasteful industries. From extravagant buffets that never run out to show floors littered with abandoned booths, useless give aways, and leftover printed materials at the end of the event, the waste is evident.
We usually define waste as a noun…
Waste (noun) – Refuse from places of human or animal habitation: garbage, rubbish*
It is garbage or rubbish to be hauled away, taken from our sight and forgotten about forever, a byproduct of convening a meeting. Often, the best we believe possible is to find ways of diverting waste from landfill through recycling and donation programs. Striving for zero waste events has become the latest trend, but it will take more than diversion to achieve this goal.
Waste is also a verb…
Waste (verb) – To spend or use carelessly; to allow to be used inefficiently or become dissipated.*
This verb reminds us that waste is actually careless and inefficient use of money, time and resources. From a business perspective, being more efficient at our events will greatly impact the bottom line. By rethinking today’s events and becoming more strategic during the procurement process, the cost savings can be remarkable without compromising the participant’s experience.
It can also be argued that corporations are now keenly interested in being seen as good corporate citizens. Appearing careless with resources or money, is frowned upon by today’s society especially by Millennials whose buying power is increasing. The use of social media to report on corporations’ actions has increased accountability.
Host organizations have an opportunity produce less waste and make events more efficient by spending resources wisely. It is much easier and cheaper than trying to divert the waste (noun) afterward. If energy-efficient buildings are now referred to as “High Performance Buildings”, shouldn’t “High Performance Events” follow suit?
*Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary