This Green Events Guide is a tool for event planners to make their events more sustainable.
You will find tips for sustainable practices during your event, including what to do throughout the planning process (before, during and after the event) and small things to remember like paperless invites, sustainable food vendors and clearly marked waste bins. This guide is the result of many event planning staff across UW and is sure to keep growing so please do come back soon and often. Have a question or suggestion? Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning Guidelines: use these guidelines to help plan your event
Day of the Event:
Some of the caterers with UW contracts focus on sustainable, locally sourced ingredients and are committed to using eco friendly disposable products with an emphasis on composting.
- Healthy food options that feature organic and local ingredients
- Offer substantial vegetarian options
- Provide compostable cups, plates, napkins, utensils, and other service-ware. See this list of acceptable items
- Offer beverage pitchers and air pots as an alternative to bottled water/drinks and aluminum cans
Linens are an essential part of making an event elegant and sophistocated. The following companies have a UW contract for events. There are a variety of options so be sure you look at them all.
For branded banners and table runners:
- UW Creative Communications- UW's source for marketing/custom branded materials
- Stella color- offers a variety eco-friendly fabrics and inks, locally owned and operated
Opting for locally sourced and organic beverages decreases our environmental impact and supports the local economy. The following companies support sustainability in their products.
- Promote public transportation to and from events (provide resources in invitations to bus routes, carpools, vanpools, etc.) or promote alternative transportation (walking, biking, etc.)
- If providing transportation to events, opt for the most efficient vehicle and least number of vehicles. Ie: don’t let carpool leave until full!
- Avoid transporting speakers/guests from long distance
- Select a venue that can be accessed easily from public transportation routes
The following Seattle area venues are either LEED certified or are committed to being green
Off campus events:
On campus events:
- Opt for mood lighting by turning off unnecessary lights
- Try to use natural light for your event, book event during mostly daylight hours and choose rooms with lots of windows, for evening time, opt for low voltage lamps
- Use LED lights for stage lighting
- Turn off electronic equipment when not in use
- Keep windows and doors closed when heat or AC is on
- Request vendors turn off their vehicles instead of idling while making deliveries
- Inform caterers of compost and recycling receptacles
- Use non toxic cleaning products
- Choose a green caterer (Food Section)
- Plan a menu that is not susceptible to having leftovers
If providing giveaways, choose sustainable goods made from reused materials, the following links also have UW contracts:
- Image Source
- Promoshop Inc
- Creative Recognitions Inc
- Kotis Design
- ASAP Promotions
These florists use locally grown flowers and are commited to sustainability
- Terra Bella: Locally sourced flowers from farmers who are certified Salmon safe and use organic farming practices. Located in Greenwood near the Woodland Park Zoo.
- Lola: Lola promotes sustainable flower growing, low waste events, and low-impact practices. They focus on composting plant waste, reusing materials, and source locally and responsibly. Owned by a UW alum!
- Marigold and Mint: Marigold and Mint is an organic farm, retail shop and studio. They are locally operated and focus on responsible harvesting from their orchard, woodland and berry patches.
- Floret Flowers: Family owned and operated, locally grown flowers
- Try to reduce printed materials for your event
- If printing is necessary, print double sided on 100% recyclable paper
- Use dry erase boards or black boards instead of paper flip charts
- Ask participants to bring a laptop for note taking or set up a meeting notes page that is emailed to everyone (one note, Google docs)
- Distribute brochures, handouts only upon request
- Decrease margins and font size to optimize paper used
- Send out email reminders or digital invites (mail chimp, evite, etc.)
- Set up catalyst account for RSVP’s
- Send out digital thank you cards via punchbowl, bluemountian, etc.
- Offer teleconferencing or phone call-ins for guests/speakers not living in the area
- Email event schedule/timeline to attendees instead of printing it out
- Use digital signage and electronic media to inform participants about event
- Ensure all bins are well marked and grouped together for easy access
- Reuse unwanted marketing/event materials
- Check for correct waste bin set ups
- Ensure that all bins are properly labeled
- Bins should be easily accessible and grouped together
- Note: compost bins should always be equipped with a compostable bin liner
- Be sure that guests know this is a certified "Green event"
- Place logo on marketing materials/collateral to encourage green practices
- Create a “green” notes page to inform what green practices went well and which areas can be improved
Most areas on campus use UW recycling to ensure proper bin set up, however the following list consults with their own waste bins. Be sure to ask if they provide recycling and compost bins for your events:
- Burke Museum: contact Event Rentals
- Center for Urban Horticulture: contact the Rental Program Office
- Foege Building: contact Classroom Services
- Gould Hall: contact Meegan Amen
- HUB: contact HUB Event Services
- Kane Hall: contact Classroom Technology & Events
- Magnuson Health Sciences Center: contact Classroom Services
- Mary Gates Hall: contact Classroom Technology & Events
- Paul G. Allen Center for CSE: contact Sophie Ostlund
- South Campus Center: contact Health Sciences Room Reservations
- Suzzallo/Allen Libraries: contact Library Facilities
- UW Tower: contact UW Tower Facilities