Waste Reduction is Overlooked

Event waste reduction is a strategy that encompasses all aspects of sustainability. When it comes to sustainable events, we often hear about:

  • The goal of hosting a zero-waste event
  • Achieving a high level of waste diversion

Across the events industry, organizers are striving to push the national average of 32% of waste diverted from landfills. Organizers want to showcase their commitment to sustainable practices to their attendees and partners. Even with waste diversion being a solid practice and zero waste being a mission to strive for, event waste reduction is the most essential method to achieve all these aspects. Reducing event waste early in planning avoids the prevention of surplus or unused materials.

Minimizing Event Waste

Think of it this way: minimizing the amount of waste that the overall event produces can be boiled down to the amount of waste each attendee generates while they’re at the event. While one event may divert more waste from landfills, that event could also generate just as much waste, if not more, than an event that focuses primarily on waste reduction.

Diversion vs Reduction

An event with 99% waste diversion from landfills can accumulate a significant carbon impact. One recommendation would be to:

  • Move away from sourcing new materials
  • Reuse or rent materials

An organizer can save the client and event money on additional charges for event waste and hauling by reducing event waste.

Diversion vs Total Waste

Measuring Waste Reduction

Event waste reduction can be complex, especially since you can only measure what didn’t happen. But the solution doesn’t have to be reduction against yourself; it can be reduction based on what you could have done (i.e., the event has never had carpet, but can still point out potential waste/what-if factors). For example, more than four billion pounds of carpet enter the solid waste stream in the United States every year, accounting for more than one percent by weight and about two percent by volume of all municipal solid waste (EPA). You can also measure against industry averages or standard practice.

Be The Hero

Remember to focus on waste reduction when planning your events. By reducing the waste you are the hero!