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Many groups of people sitting outside at a park by the lake enjoying the outdoors.

Sustainable Event Planning

When you think of all of the large events you have been to recently – what is something they all have in common? Unfortunately, most events such as graduations, festivals, sporting events, conferences, birthday parties, etc. all have a large impact on the environment. But it does not have to be this way! Here are some things to consider to help make your event or family gathering more sustainable:

A buffet of food with decorations for a celebration.

Using reusable materials instead of disposable ones reduces landfill waste and can save you money.

Energy – not only is energy expensive, it is costly to the environment. Try and plan your events during the less hot/humid parts of the year to conserve or eliminate the need to use energy. When hosting events inside, consider using energy efficient structures and take advantage of natural lighting options.  Or, use an outdoor park or space when possible.

Water – be sure to use an event space that has water efficient facilities. Keep guests hydrated and encourage the use of refillable water bottles by providing water refill stations. Infusing water with fruit and vegetables that are in season is a great way to provide more hydration options for guests.

Food – if you want to provide food for your event, use local businesses and support the local economy. Prepare fresh, seasonal meals for your guests using Florida ingredients. This will reduce your food footprint.

A glass pitcher with water infused with strawberries with a glass of ice water next to it.

Fruit infused water is a great way to stay hydrated and avoid sugary beverages.

Promotion and Marketing – with the power of the internet and social media, you should be able to eliminate any waste related to event planning. Even wedding invitations are online nowadays and you do not have to sacrifice style or quality.

Waste Reduction – reuse, recycling, and composting saves space in landfills. Providing these opportunities at your event not only helps the environment, but provides an educational opportunity for attendees. For events with food, try providing reusable utensils, plates, and cups instead of disposable ones. There are many creative ways to reuse items from your home such as vases, mason jars, and cloth to reduce waste.

Purchasing – sustainable choices means less waste and less impact on the environment. If you must use single-use products, try compostable materials and/or paper products instead of plastic.

Alternative Transportation – encourage guests to use public transit, carpool, bike, or walk to your event if possible.  Using alternative forms of transportation can help reduce your carbon footprint.

Additional Information

For more information and tips on how to create a sustainable event check here and here.

Planning a wedding? Here is one example of a local business that helps plan eco-friendly weddings!

Here is another footprint calculator

Also check out Clearwater’s Strawless Summer Challenge