Maintain close communication with stakeholders
- Each event involves various stakeholders. Each of them is playing crucial roles in determining the success of green measures implementation.
- Communication / Promotional channels include but not limited to project meetings, notes to participants, notes to volunteers, briefing sessions, event promotions, social media platforms, on-site displays, websites, media releases, etc.
Buy-in from the work team is very important
- Show your supervisors concrete objectives, a well-planned proposal and extra benefits to the event.
- Provide work team with clear instructions.
- Provide work team with relevant trainings.
- Share results and achievements with the work team and participants after the events.
The earlier you plan, the better
- Disposables are always lower in cost because they didn’t internalize the environmental costs. As a responsible green citizen, environmentally friendly products/ services are a better choice even though they inevitably cost a little more. Organizers should therefore plan ahead to allow for financial and staffing budgets. “Green Event” is the new trend in the event industry so most of the sponsors are willing to support green initiatives.
Collect data and review the results
- Organizers can collect waste and recycling figures from cleaning companies and recyclers, then carry out a quantitative review on the recycling results to set waste reduction targets for next event. Share the results and achievements will help build a positive brand image.
- For large-scale events, organizers can carry out comprehensive waste audits and carbon audits.
Organizers misunderstand that the responsibility of recycling falls on cleaning companies
If the location of the event is relatively remote, cleaning companies may require extra transportation cost to handle the recyclables.
Organizers should discuss with cleaning companies/ recyclers in advance for collection and proper recycling where additional cost may incur.
Underestimation of volume of waste
Participants and event partners will also generate waste. Do not underestimate the amount of waste. Instead, organizers should proactively inquire about the potential amount of waste generated by each unit before the event and discuss feasible waste reduction plans with them.
Lack recycling knowledge
Organizers may invite environmental groups to provide trainings to event staff and volunteers.
Staff may also join activities organized by environmental groups to acquire the relevant knowledge.
Too many different types of materials and packaging make collection and recycling more difficult and the cost of disposal more expensive
List out the materials and review them to see if they are easy to recycle or requiring special recycling treatments. By listing them out, you should review your material list to decide whether to avoid, reduce, or find alternatives for certain non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle items.
Low recycling awareness of participants
Strengthen education of participants. Organizers may provide clear instructions on onsite recycling arrangements and have green ambassadors to assist participants to properly recycle.
Low recycling awareness of staff education focuses on participants but overlooked event staff
Pre-event briefing sessions, notices and onsite instructions should be given by organizers to the work team regarding the event’s green principles and requirements as well as assignment of responsibilities.
HOW TO START?
“My Green Event”
Through a quick online Q&A, a “My Green Event” proposal with suggestions addressing your needs will be generated immediately to help you take the first step in preparing for your green event.
Search for Green Event Support
The Green Earth is providing waste and carbon reduction support to event organizers. Charitable organizations may enjoy the service free-of-charge.
Train up your Green Volunteer Team
The Green Earth is providing Green Event training to volunteer groups. FREE Green Event workshop is available to different volunteer teams.
How long before the event do I have to start planning green measures?
- Planning ahead is very important. If green measures have been considered at the early stage of planning, you may have a better planning and reservation in financial and staffing budgets. With clear and well-planned waste reduction and environmental protection targets, green measures can therefore be implemented cost-effectively.
Who do I need to work with?
- Organizing an event involves a large number of stakeholders, including organizers, sponsors, venue providers, volunteers, cleaning contractors, recycling partners, product/ service providers, event participants, exhibitors, media, etc. The success of an environmentally friendly initiative requires all of them to play their part and work together.
How to find service providers who are in line with environmental objectives?
- Our Green Event Procurement Search Engine can help you. The system allows you to search for credible green event product/ service partners that can provide support to achieve your event’s environmental goals. The search engine filters include green venues, catering service providers, recyclers, event planners, and production companies, etc.
Apart from waste reduction measures, are there other areas related environmental protection I should pay attention to?
- In addition to minimizing waste, you can also set targets for reducing the carbon footprint (such as through energy saving) to reduce the impact of the event on climate change. You may also consider other potential environmental aspects or potential impact such as water footprint, air pollution, noise and light pollution, etc.
Is there any information I can refer to?
Which beverage packaging can be recycled?
It is common sense that aluminum cans and plastic bottles can be recycled. But what about the following beverage packagings?
- Glass Bottles
- Can be recycled. But due to weight and safety considerations, it may be better to contact a glass recycler for provision of dedicated recycling bins and collection services.
- Tetra Pak
- Tetra Pak – the liquid cartons everyone is familiar with, consist of three types of materials: paperboard, aluminum, and plastic. It is technically recyclable, but there are only a few local recyclers in Hong Kong like Mil Mill (喵坊). Since Tetra Pak must be cleaned before recycling, it usually requires dedicated recycling support.
- Cheer Pack
- Is made from a multi-layer laminate material including polyester, nylon and polyethylene, etc. Lacking local processing facilities, Cheer Pack is generally not accepted by recyclers. It is recommended to switch to beverages using other types of recyclable containers or packaging.
- Glass Bottles
Are paper cups recyclable?
- Generally, “paper cups” available on the market are not 100% made of paper. They usually have layers of waterproof film. The film must be separated from the paper during recycling, which increases the processing cost. Therefore, only dedicated recyclers (e.g. paper recycling factory Mil Mill 喵坊) can recycle paper cups.
Are the "Environmentally friendly tablewares" you choose really environmentally friendly?
- There is a wide range of products available on the market. Whether they are truly environmentally friendly or not depending on their materials, production methods, and how they are being processed after use. Some products claim to be biodegradable, but the decomposition requires specific conditions, while many of these plastic products will break down into smaller plastic particles or micro-plastics leading to another form of plastic pollution. Therefore, if you want to choose environmentally friendly products, you should request suppliers to provide proven information on their “degradation conditions”. With better understanding of the plastic, you can arrange for proper recycling or disposal. Otherwise, just simply avoid using these products.
Are biodegradable plastic bags recyclable?
- Biodegradable plastic bags degrade within a specific timeframe. Hence, if these bags are mixed with regular plastic bags in the recycling process, the durability and strength of the end products (recycled plastics) would be significantly reduced, which would affect the products’ quality and sales. Therefore, recyclers do not accept biodegradable plastic bags. Do not put them in recycling bins, as they will only be discarded as general waste.
Are plastic banners recyclable?
Most plastic banners on the market are a mix of plastics and fibers to enhance their strength and durability. However, this also leads to very high recycling cost. Very few local recyclers are willing to collect them.
- Most of the event banners are discarded after one use and are difficult to recycle. So please reconsider your needs before ordering production and reduce use (including size and quantity) wherever is possible.
- Replace banners with alternatives (such as large electronic screens, etc.)
- Avoid printing the year of the event on the banner, you can then roll it up after use for reusing it next year.
- Reuse banners: Donate the used banners to friends who can make good use of them (for example, using them as water-proof cover, or in banner upcycling workshops) to extend the lifespan of the banners.
If I have to print paper publications, which material should I choose?
- If paper publications cannot be avoided, please choose eco-friendly materials, such as 100% recycled paper or paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). You can also choose eco-friendly ink for printing. In addition, avoid lamination on the paper as laminated paper cannot be recycled.
Why would outdoor activities carried out on rainy days turn into an environmental disaster?
Because of the tremendous number of disposable raincoats used! Some participants wear raincoats to keep warm during running races. Most of them are discarded after one use. Raincoats left on the ground also poses a potential safety hazard.
- Encourage participants and staff to wear waterproof windbreakers or reusable raincoats, and reduce the use of disposable raincoats.
- Encourage reusing raincoats by drying and folding them for reuse again.
- Many convenient raincoats are made of plastic. To avoid a plastic disaster, the organizer could simply set up recycling facilities at the venue to collect discarded raincoats and hand them over to recyclers.
- Remove ropes and accessories from the raincoat before recycling.
I want to prepare souvenirs for the participants, what should I pay attention to?
- Souvenirs should focus on quality over quantity (“quality” includes design and materials). Low-quality souvenirs hardly bring publicity benefits and are a waste of resources.
- Practical gifts, such as daily necessities or green products are preferred.
- Even the most practical gift can be a waste if overproduced, so please consider having different gift options.
- Avoid distributing non-woven bags, which are generally not accepted by recyclers and urge participants to bring their own reusable bags for souvenirs.
- Request suppliers to reduce individual packaging.
- During registration, provide participants with an option of not taking any souvenir. Produce according to the required quantity of souvenirs.
- Set up sharing booths to collect souvenirs that participants do not want, and redistribute in the next event or donate them.
"Can it be recycled?" Index of Recyclable Items
- Are you still having doubts about whether the waste generated from the event can be recycled? Please visit our Index of Recyclable Items. If the index does not include the type of waste you will generate, please inform us by email so that we can offer you further advice.
What should be included when making a green event report?
- Introduction & Goals
- Summarize the green aims and objectives of the event
- Measures implemented and results
- Review the green measures and actions at each stage of the event
- *Remember to take photos to keep track of the effectiveness of the measures, which can be used for internal review or shared with others
- Waste Audit & Carbon Audit Results (if applicable)
- Summarize the results and analysis of waste audits and carbon audits
- Reviews & Recommendations
- Summarize the effectiveness of the implemented measures and whether they have achieved the set goals
- List out the problems in the process and make suggestions for improvement
- The waste audits and carbon audits results can be compared with previous or similar events to gauge the effectiveness of measures
- Suggest goals for the next event
- Introduction & Goals
How to obtain data regarding the amount of waste generated and recycled?
- You can conduct a waste audit on the day of the event and obtain data by weighing or calculating the capacity of garbage bags.
- You can also communicate with cleaning contractors and recyclers before the event, and have them submit data after the event. However, no matter which method you would use, we recommend you to monitor and record the use of recycling bins and trash bins on-site to gauge the effectiveness of the measures.