So you’ve decided to make your next meeting or event more sustainable and you’ve rallied the troops in support of your mission. Kudos! You’re already a step ahead of the game. Your decision to go GREENer (set yourself up for success by committing to do what you can rather than trying to be a panacea) is an important one. After all, a typical 5 day conference for 2,500 people uses 62,500 plates, 87,500 napkins, 75,000 cups or glasses and 90,000 cans or bottles (source: MeetGreen). Mehmet Murat ildan, a playwright and novelist, put it best…”Little details have special talents in creating big problems!”
As event planners, we agonize over the smallest details. Attention to detail is one of the prerequisites for being a successful planner (read more). The little details can be highly visible and impactful, like a well-thought out room delivery, or they can be inconspicuous and behind-the-scenes, like an onsite crash kit. If you’ve never heard of an event crash kit before, don’t worry you’re not alone. It’s a collection of supplies to help you execute the event and it’s a rescue tool when issues arise. In other words, it’s a major life saver. Your welcome!
To help create an onsite crash kit that aligns with your sustainable event goal, we’ve put together a GREENer supply list. You’ll feel good knowing that even the little things have been planned with environmental impact in mind.
GREENer Crash Kit Supply List
Made from 91% recycled content and manufactured in a facility that meets ISO standards for responsible production, these dry-erase markers are great to have on hand for team briefings, pop-up breakout meetings, and late night planning sessions. They can also be used on glassware to help guests identify their drink and use the same glass for the duration of the event, thereby reducing beverage waste. Rest assured they wipe right off glazed glassware so you won’t upset venue or catering staff.
The world’s first pen made from 89% post-consumer recycled water bottles! Have these in your back pocket for the inevitable lost pen or dried up ink situation.
Need your attendees to fill out a last minute survey? Have an executive who came up with a great group exercise 10 minutes before the session starts? These tree-free pencils are produced out of hand-rolled, recycled newspaper using a non-toxic solution and ferrule and latex free erasers.
Reducing the use of plastic by 60%, these Earth-friendly markers are made with recycled paper, lined with wax to retain moisture, and filled with non-toxic, alcohol-based ink with no xylene, toluene, or other VOCs. From labelling packages that need to be in another province by tomorrow, to crossing-out the sold-out drink selections on a bar menu, there is no end to our love for permanent markers.
No matter how much you get your printing house in order before the event, there are always last minute printing needs onsite and you may not have the time, budget or resources to send this to an off-site printer. To tackle these jobs, you’ll need an array of labels, cards, card stock and paper, all made of 100% recycled materials or course, but you’ll also need a trusted desktop printer and lots of extra ink cartridges. Soy-based ink cartridges are a great option for eco-conscious planners because they help reduce your footprint without sacrificing a rich, vivid colour outcome. For a list of all the environmental benefits of soy-based ink, visit CleanTechnica.
Your staff office is your onsite command centre. It’s a place for troubleshooting, brainstorming, rest and relaxation; it’s not a place for dirt and clutter. Engage your staff in cleaning up at the end of every day and your mind will thank you. Method makes my favourite green cleaning products on the market. From responsible ingredient sourcing to a LEED platinum-certified production plant and a biodiesel shipping program, Method is truly committed to making the planet a cleaner place. Plus I’m a sucker for their quirky packaging and amazingly non-toxic scents like eucalyptus mint, apple orchard, and waterfall.
While the jury is still out on whether these bags actually help the environment (in order to biodegrade they require air, moisture and oxygen, conditions which are not always present in our landfills) we all know that garbage bags are an event planning necessity. At the very least, biodegradable bags are manufactured using recycled plastic and are coated with an eco-friendly film which is a step in the right direction as far as we’re concerned.
You may not be saving the planet by choosing eco-friendly supplies, but when you combine it with the big steps you are taking with venue selection, carbon offsetting, and transportation planning you are making a difference. As the Margaret Mead cliche, I mean quote goes, you should “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”
What other items would you add to this list??
In addition to the above, every crash kit needs USB sticks, a flashlight, a sewing kit, a utility tool like a swiss army knife, a multi-head screwdriver, feminine hygiene products, pain relievers like Advil and Tylenol, and other personal grooming items like a hair brush, comb, and dental floss. At some point, you will have a keynote speaker asking for one of these items 10 minutes before they go on stage, which is no time to be running to a drug store. Fishing tackle boxes and tool boxes are great storage options for your crash kit and help you keep everything organized – phew!