America Recycles Day, November 15, 2016 has arrived—and I want to talk about a pet peeve: Large events that provide NO recycling options! I have recently attended indoor and outdoor sporting events, a large training event with teenagers, and a wedding. In every instance, huge quantities of bottles and cans were thrown into the garbage, not because the facility did not have recycling on the premises, but rather because they did not make it easy for participants to recycle.
People want to recycle. According to an April, 2016 Pew Research Center Report, 39% of U.S. adults say the term “environmentalist” described them very well. Data from a Pew 2014 survey shows that close to half, 46%, of Americans say they recycle or reduce waste to protect the environment whenever possible.
So we need to give people a chance to recycle: If you are planning a personal or work event, check with your venue to ensure that adequate recycling options are available for the guests or participants making it easy for them to recycle.
One easy way to ensure that you are “greening” your event is to find Virginia Green Certified venues. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association (VRLTA) have partnered together to provide opportunities for facilities to reduce the environmental impacts of the tourism and events industry and raise environmental awareness.
To become VA Green Certified, Convention and Conference Centers must at a minimum
- Provide Recycling:provide for recycling at their events
- Minimize the use of disposable food service products:use products that are made from bio-based or renewable resources and provide for recycling or composting of items
- Water Efficiency:must have a plan for conserving and using water efficiently
- Energy Conservation:must have a plan in place to reduce overall energy consumption
- Support Green Conferences & Events: must offer a “green” or “environmentally-friendly” package for events.
For ideas on Green Events, please check out the fact-sheet on Environmentally-Responsible Conferences, Meeting, and Events: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/PollutionPrevention/VirginiaGreen/8-4-11_Green_Events.pdf
To find lists of Virginia Green Certified facilities, go tohttp://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/PollutionPrevention/VirginiaGreen/GreenConventionsConferences.aspx