"Top 11 Ways We Greened Our Event"
by Caylin Sanders
Hosting a green event is not only possible, but could actually save you money as you get more creative with your materials and choosing your event partners.
On Saturday, April 30, 2011 we held the first-of-its kind Green "Getaways, Local Food & Travel Expo" in Brooklyn, NY. Click here for 2012 event on April 14th!
Our carbon-free event’s mission was to encourage greener travel to local destinations within a few hours of New York City – whether by Amtrak, Long Island Railroad, Metro-North or car-sharing with Zipcar.
To encourage “Agri-tourism,” and buying local, we also had over 25 food exhibitors and wineries sampling farm-fresh foods, wines, local delicacies and regional products; Vermont Cheese, to maple and artisan chocolates from New York State, to jams and preserves from New Jersey, to Hudson Valley Wine.
We took great care to make sure we were as green as possible and a carbon-free event. So here’s how we did it:
1. First, we partnered with Carbonfund.org and Green Mountain Energy to purchase carbon offsets. They helped us calculate our paper use, building energy use for the day and estimated attendee travel surrounding the event. Once we have the final totals post-event, they’ll be planting trees or buying renewable energy to offset our event’s total carbon footprint.
2. The event space, Skylight One Hanson is a perfectly preserved bank from the 1920’s. We’d like to think we’re recycling this historic venue for a new and different use. The balloons we use for decor are made of biodegradable latex - supplied by local business, Balloon Place of Brooklyn.
3. Most of our exhibitor tables will be covered in burlap – a biodegradable natural fiber. Commercial burlap tablecloths can get super expensive, so we contacted a local landscape supplier in Jersey City for the raw material so that we can then reuse for future shows or donate to local parks. Thanks to
NYP Corp. for giving us a discount and supporting the mission of our event.
4. We partnered with GrowNYC to offer educational greenmarket and recycling workshops. They will also coordinate all of the event’s waste and recycling with Action Carting. In addition, Edible Manhattan/Brooklyn, Pride of New York, Brooklyn Food Coalition and Heritage Radio will be there to answer questions about CSA’s and educate about the slow food movement.
5. Local speakers from Palo Santo Restaurant and Vokashi Composting will be delivering food demos and composting workshops. Plus, City Harvest is donating their time to collect the event’s food surplus to distribute to NYC’s hungry – making sure no food goes to waste.
6. We asked Amtrak and Zipcar to give discounts to their customers and members traveling to the Expo – they will also be transporting our musicians and speakers for the day.
7. Transportation Alternatives offered FREE bike valet parking to encourage our eco-minded bicyclists to attend and 9th Street Cycles was there to answer biking gear questions. Plus, Appalachian Mountain Club offered workshops on Adventure Bicycling and Hiking via Mass Transit and Northern New Jersey Cachers demystified the eco-friendly craze of Geocaching.
8. Local business Park Slope Copy donated all of our recycled paper products, i.e. our posters, programs etc. and Park Slope B.I.D. and Bagel World donated freshly made bagels and muffins for the press conference continental breakfast.
9. Our Sponsor I LOVE NY, gave out organic reusable totes to every attendee and also announced their “Greenest NYer 2011” – an ambassador for all things green travel in NY State.
10. Rather than supply our exhibitors with individual bottled water, we used a central dispenser, Poland Spring water 5-gallon jugs and eco-friendly 8 oz. recyclable and compostable bagasse cups from SustyParty.com of Brooklyn.
11. Most of our event marketing was done through online advertising, Twitter, Facebook and blog posts and radio on WNYC and Heritage Radio Network. We even did web commercials on YouTube. Plus, our tickets were sold through Eventbrite.com -- we opted for door check-in, rather than printed paper tickets. We explained to people in their email receipt that there was no need to print the receipt out, just to bring a form of identification or credit card used to purchase tickets.
For more information on the 2012 Local Food & Travel Expo, visit: http://www.escapemaker.com/travelexpo
Caylin Sanders is the founder and President of EscapeMaker.com, a guide to local weekend getaways and day trips within a day’s drive or train/bus ride of New York City since 2000. A regular speaker on packaging and marketing local destinations, Ms. Sanders, along with Jennifer Woofter of Strategic Sustainability Consulting, released a Green Tourism 101 Webinar in 2011 to encourage local hoteliers and B&B owners to start thinking GREEN as more and more travelers opt for eco-destinations.