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The Green Tourism Symposium - Rhode Island. Green Meetings Presented by: Rebecca Mebane Director of Conferences and Meetings National Recycling Coalition. What is a ‘Green Meeting?’.

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The green tourism symposium rhode island

The Green Tourism Symposium - Rhode Island

Green Meetings

Presented by: Rebecca Mebane

Director of Conferences and Meetings

National Recycling Coalition

What is a green meeting
What is a ‘Green Meeting?’

The Convention Industry Council defines it as “a meeting or event that incorporates environmental considerations to minimize itsnegative impact on the environment.”

How do i plan a green meeting
How do I plan a ‘Green Meeting?’

NRC’s Green Meeting Policy:

  • Promotion/Printed Materials

  • Transportation

  • Food & Beverage Functions

  • Hotels

    - Exhibit Hall/Exhibitors

  • Educating Attendees

  • Evaluation of ‘Green’ efforts

Promotion printed materials
Promotion/Printed Materials

General Use/Paper Copying

  • Always meet or exceed EPA standards for recycled content paper.

    (Executive Order 13101 states that paper purchased by Federal Agencies must have a minimum of 30% recycled content.)

Promotion printed materials1
Promotion/Printed Materials

Closing the Loop

- Diverting Recyclables from the Waste Stream

- Companies use these recyclables to manufacture new products

- Purchase products made from recovered materials

Promotion printed materials2
Promotion/Printed Materials

How can you ‘Close the Loop’

  • Make sure to recycled content paper

  • Ask your printer to use recycled content paper.

Promotion printed materials3
Promotion/Printed Materials


  • Always use back to back copying/printing

  • Do not use goldenrod or fluorescent colored paper, limit any use of glossy paper

Promotion printed materials4
Promotion/Printed Materials

Promotional Materials

  • Utilize electronic advertising/promotion where ever possible ($)

  • Make materials self mailers wherever possible ($)

  • Clean-up mailing lists ($)

  • Offer registration on-line

  • Find mailing labels with water-based adhesives

  • Print with non-volatile vegetable-oil based ink

Promotion printed materials5
Promotion/Printed Materials

Confirmation Materials

  • Send confirmation materials

    electronically ($) or have information available on website, and mailed only when requested

  • Provide Attendees “Green” Traveler Ideas

    (Ask Green Hotels Association for permission to reprint.)

Promotion printed materials6
Promotion/Printed Materials

Speaker Handouts

  • Ask speakers to provide handouts electronically and post these on your website ($)

  • Then ask attendees to download in advance or provide computers/printers on-site for downloading presentations.


Promotion printed materials7
Promotion/Printed Materials

  • Provide attendees with disks with all presentations

  • Request that speakers ask attendees for business cards for speakers to mail any materials that they don't have on-site

Promotion printed materials8
Promotion/Printed Materials

On-site Materials

  • Collect and reuse name tag holders ($)

    • Have badge collection boxes at Registration area, at exit of exhibit hall on last day, and at exit of convention center on the last day

    • Ask congress hotels to have collection boxes at front desk for check-out

    • Offer a prize drawing from those recycled name tag holders

Promotion printed materials9
Promotion/Printed Materials

  • Use reusable or recyclable signs ($)

  • Congress give-a-ways (totebags, mugs, etc.) should be made with recycled content materials.

  • Speaker gifts/awards/etc. should be made from recycled materials or be environmentally conscience.


  • Choose a destination with minimal travel requirements for delegates.  Shorter distances will result in less environmental impact. 

  • Choose hotels/meeting venues accessible to airport by public transit system.

  • Use or give delegates incentives to travel via public transit (free passes or transit route maps).


  • Have hotels, meeting venues, and “free time” activities (restaurants and shops) all walking distance of each other.

  • If transportation is being arranged for delegates choose vehicle which use one of the following: electric or hybrid power, natural gas, propane, methane gas or ethanol.

Working with facilities
Working with Facilities

In Advance

  • Send with RFP a “Recycling & Waste Prevention Information Checklist”

    • Ask if they are certified by either EPA Energy Star, Green Seal or are you a LEED Certified Building.

    • Ask about Recycling Programs, Energy Conservation, do they purchase recycled content products. Etc.

  • Use this information to evaluate and choose facilities

Working with facilities1
Working with Facilities


Add as an appendix to your contract any “Green Meeting” requirements:

“Facility agrees to abide by the following for all NRC events. If any additional costs are to be incurred by NRC for any of these items, these costs must be identified in the contract.”

Food beverage functions
Food & Beverage Functions

Eliminate use of disposable service ware

  • Require all facilities to use non-disposable serviceware

Food beverage functions1
Food & Beverage Functions

Using 1,000 disposable plastic spoons consumes over 10 times more energy and natural resources then manufacturing one stainless steel teaspoon and washing it 1,000 times.

Food beverage functions2
Food & Beverage Functions

Recycling’s true value comes from preventing pollution and saving natural resources and energy not landfill space.

Food beverage functions3
Food & Beverage Functions

  • It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum then it does to make from raw materials

  • Recycled steel saves 60%

  • Recycled Plastic 70%

  • Glass & newspaper 40%

Food beverage functions4
Food & Beverage Functions

If non-disposable service ware is unavailable:

  • use biodegradable disposable service ware in conjunction with a compost program or

  • service ware made from recycled content materials.

Food beverage functions5
Food & Beverage Functions

  • Onsite concessionaires:

    • Ask concessionaires to use recycled content products or biodegradable disposable service ware in conjunction with a compost program

    • Ask concessionaires to serve beverages to Congress attendees in their Congress mugs.

    • Promote/recognize concessionaires who are willing to work with you in those areas.

Food beverage functions6
Food & Beverage Functions

  • Eliminate the use of plastic or wood stir sticks with any beverage service, reusable spoons should be used at coffee service.

  • "Box lunches" must be served buffet style

  • Request cloth napkins and table cloths be used. In cases where this is not feasible, request compostable napkins or napkins made from recycled content materials.

Food beverage functions7
Food & Beverage Functions

  • Have cocktail napkins available at bar service but instruct bartenders not to automatically give them with each drink.

  • Provide or ask attendees to use mugs.

  • Use water coolers instead of individual bottles of water.($)

  • Have a recycling program for type of beverage containers that will be served (i.e. glass, plastic or cans).

Food beverage functions8
Food & Beverage Functions

Food Service

  • All condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, jelly, butter, sugar, creamers, etc) should be served in serving containers and not in individual packets.

  • Ask to have food served without garnishes or use edible garnishes.

Food beverage functions9
Food & Beverage Functions

  • Where possible, donate surplus food to local shelters, soup kitchens, etc.

  • Plan menus with locally grown or organic food (including fair trade, shade grown coffee, tea, chocolate, and coco).

  • Serve only environmentally friendly seafood.

  • Provide a “signup form for meals” section on registration form

Food beverage functions10
Food & Beverage Functions

Food Composting

  • Ask Facilities to provide food composting or

  • Selling scraps to Pig Farms


Linen/Towel Program

For hotels who don't already change towels and bed linens as requested, have them commit to doing this for our attendees during our stay.


  • Provide cards that guests can use during their stay to let housekeeping know whether they want their towels and bed linens changed.

  • Give these cards to hotel for them to give to our guests during check-in.

  • Let attendees know in advance to expect these cards at check-in.

  • Attendees should be instructed to call housekeeping at the hotel if the hotel is not following the instructions not to have their towels and bed linens changed.


For hotels that don't have dispensers in the bathrooms for shampoo/soap/etc, or don't have a program already in place to donate these used containers, collect and donate opened hotel toiletries and soap.

  • Work with the host committee to find organizations who can use opened hotel toiletries and soap.

  • Have a collection box set up at the Convention Center on the last day and see if we can also setup collection boxes at the hotel front desk.



  • Check to see if the hotel has in-room recycling containers or is able to collect recycling items from the trash. If not, instruct attendees to bring any recyclables from their hotel room to the collection stations in the meeting areas of the hotel.

Hotels convention centers
Hotels/Convention Centers

Convention Center/Hotels/Off Property Venues

Setup a recycling program to collect:

  • Paper

  • All Beverage Containers (i.e. glass, plastic, aluminum cans) that are being served.

  • Corrugated Paper (done behind the scenes recycling containers not needed in 'public' areas).

Hotels convention centers1
Hotels/Convention Centers

-Container areas should be visually well identified

-Make sure to educate attendees on what can be recycled and where

-Make sure to have trash cans near recycling containers

Exhibit hall exhibitors
Exhibit Hall/Exhibitors

The goal is to make recycling for exhibitors a positive experience and not to be so restrictive or make recycling so difficult that we discourage exhibitors from participating at the Congress.

Exhibit hall exhibitors1
Exhibit Hall/Exhibitors


  • Ask exhibitors not to over-package give-a-ways

  • Set up a collection for any 'useful' give-a-ways that would normally be thrown away and donate them to local shelters or schools.

  • Ask exhibitors that give-a-ways be reusable items or items made from recycled materials.

Exhibit hall exhibitors2
Exhibit Hall/Exhibitors

Exhibitor promotional materials

  • Give exhibitors our "Green" policy for promotional materials and ask/suggest that they adhere to them.

  • Let exhibitors know in advance the expected number of attendees to help them in their planning on appropriate number of handouts/give-a-ways to bring.

Exhibit hall exhibitors3
Exhibit Hall/Exhibitors

  • Encourage exhibitors to bring small quantities and then mail materials to clients from their offices after the show or refer clients to their web site.

  • Suggest exhibitors avoid printing dates and slogans on exhibit materials so that they may be easily reused.

  • Let Exhibitors know how/where they can recycle their materials

Exhibit hall exhibitors4
Exhibit Hall/ Exhibitors

Recognition of "Green" Exhibitors

  • Develop criteria to recognize "green" exhibitors.

  • Send to criteria to exhibitors in advance.

  • Recognize exhibitors, who meet a required level of the criteria, in post-Congress materials and at the following year's Congress (special notation on their booth signage or other signage which they can display at their booth).

Exhibit hall exhibitors5
Exhibit Hall/ Exhibitors


  • Work with decorator on putting decorator kit on the website.

  • Work with decorator on trying to eliminate non-reusable materials (draping for tables, etc) or see if they can be reused by local schools, etc.

Educating attendees
Educating Attendees

Educating Attendees

  • Pre-Congress information

    Let attendees know in advance (either by e-mails or in Congress Confirmation materials) about general recycling programs that will be in place and how they can participate. If you will be providing the 'bed linen/towel changing' cards to the hotel, let attendees know they should be receiving them at check-in.

Educating attendees1
Educating Attendees

Educating Attendees

  • Program Book

    • Include details of our on-site recycling/waste prevention program, including: what materials will be recycled and where recycling bins are located; what 'behind -the-scenes' recycling is taking place at the Convention Centers/Hotels/Off-site Facilities;

    • Notice of any special deals that on-site concessionaires are offering (that promote waste prevention)

Educating attendees2
Educating Attendees

Program Book (cont’d)

  • Other waste prevention measures you are taking (reusing names badges & signage, mug program, confirmation materials on the web, etc).

  • Information should start with an intro into why we have this program in place.

Educating attendees3
Educating Attendees

Educating Attendees

  • Announcement at sessions

  • Reminders in daily signage

Educating attendees4
Educating Attendees

Encouraging/Rewarding Attendees

  • Provide attendees seen with "I was caught green handed" buttons, pins, etc to help provide an incentive/ reminder for attendees to recycle/ eliminate waste.

Educating attendees5
Educating Attendees

Recycling Advisors

  • Have designated volunteers to serve as recycling advisors. Have special badges, shirts or ribbons to identify these advisors. Purpose of recycling advisors is to help identify recycling areas to attendees and to help assist and encourage attendees to recycle.

Evaluation of green efforts
Evaluation of ‘Green’ efforts

Attendee & Exhibitor Evaluation

  • Have a section on the Conference Evaluation Forms asking them to rank your ‘green’ meeting efforts

    (were they aware of programs, ease of participating in the programs, any other areas where organization can improve upon)

Evaluation of green efforts1
Evaluation of ‘Green’ efforts


  • Let attendees know that a post congress recycling/waste prevention report will be available on our website a few weeks after the Congress. Include information on how much/what kinds of materials were recycled.