Earth Day is April 22, 2018: What do you have planned?
Celebrated each year on April 22, Earth Day is the perfect time of year to engage and inspire participants, guests, employees and stakeholders and beyond on sustainability. In the lead up to Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in 2020, Earth Day Network launched a campaign to End Plastic Pollution.
This campaign is timely for several reasons. First, the impact of plastic pollution is significant, for example, scientists estimate that more than 8 million metric tons of plastic is entering our ocean every year. There is also an increased focus on policies to eliminate single use plastics. As an example, the EU wants 55% of all plastic to be recycled by 2030 and for member states to reduce the use of bags per person from 90 a year to 40 by 2026. With the recent ban on importing foreign recycling by China, greater emphasis on eliminating (not simply recycling) single use plastic is needed. In addition, low oil prices have resulted in lower costs for manufacturers to use virgin plastic over recycled alternatives.
We encourage you to plan an Earth Day activity for your organization. Please join us for our upcoming webinar on February 27 to learn more on how to plan an Earth Day event. You can also support the Earth Day program and the campaign to end plastic pollution by implementing sustainable practices for your events. Below are a few easy ideas to get you started.
- Replace bottled water with a filtered water station with reusable glassware
- Provide reusable water bottles for your event attendees (a great sponsorship opportunity!)
- Reuse nametags and lanyards from a previous event, collect them after your program to use for your next event, or ask participants to bring their own name tag and lanyard or company name tags
- Opt for reusable (not disposable) service ware
- Include questions about recycling in your RFPs, and verify the practices in your site inspections
- Offer recycling bins in the meeting room, guest rooms and public spaces or select a venue with a back-of-house sorting program
- Eliminate plastic drinking straws (but have a few bendable straws on hand to meet accessibility needs)
- Use insulated dispensers for milk and cream instead of individual plastic containers
- Confirm that plastic film, such as what is used to wrap pallets, can be recycled (tip: clear visqueen is more likely to be recyclable than reinforced visqueen)
- Use products made from recycled plastic for your events
Mariela McIlwraith, CMP, CMM, MBA
Director, Industry Advancement, Events Industry Council