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Sustainability at Events

Events evolve with society and often reflect the values the the changing world. Planning and executing a sustainable event is not just good practice anymore, but instead at the forefront of attendees’ expectations. Technology has made it possible to reduce the amount of waste we not only produce every day, but creatively share ways to reuse the supplies already available to us! Sustainability at events is not only important to event attendees, but it’s also a cost effective option too.  With a vast network of vendors and clients, DGE has the tools to provide clients the means to creating a sustainable event.


Pre-Event Sustainability:

A circular economy not only allows consumers to “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but also promotes sustainability that extends the life of resources used in everyday operations. Using online invitations instead of printing and mailing physical paper products, not only saves resources, but is adaptable to the busy lifestyles of attendees that may not check their physical mailbox as much as their online one. If paper invites are still requested, there are great options to select recycled products or event products made from seeds that can be planted instead of thrown away.

While many aspects of a venue are examined before making the final decision, there are some factors that can receive some extra attention: values of the venue in regards to sustainability and how they are implemented as well as vicinity to public transportation. What is important is to choose the aspects that are important to YOU and what YOU think will make the greatest impact for your event!

Pre-Event Ideas:

  • Communicate through technology instead of paper invites and programs.
  • Consider venue sustainability to make your job easier! Focus on composting and recycling methods implemented onsite.
  • Offer discounts to those who utilize public transportation and choose a venue that is within a close vicinity to bus or tram stops.
  • Coordinate with other events to share resources like flowers and decor.


At-Event Sustainability:

While events are ever-changing and adapting to the unexpected, there are a few aspects of the planning process that you can focus on to reduce the amount of waste on the event day. This could be done by using people to direct guests instead of signage. You can also email the program prior to the event instead of using paper to print one.

Food and meal options offered to attendees is another area to save on cost and your event’s carbon footprint, such as choosing a vegetable-based meal rather than a meat one. Choosing to provide finger foods eliminates the need for disposable silverware and unnecessary waste. While some changes may seem so small that they might not make a difference, it is the combination of the little things that make a big impact.

At-Event Ideas:

  • Utilize energetic people to direct attendees instead of signage.
  • Email program prior to event or highlight in one area instead of creating individual copies.
  • Make sure recycling and organic containers are visible to attendees and easy to use.
  • Be conscious of food and meal choices by choosing local and sustainably sourced options. Use finger foods that don’t require disposable silverware.
  • Provide creative options of transport that don’t require gas, like Pedicabs or Bikes!


Post-Event Sustainability:

At this point, it is crucial to determine what can be recycled/donated or what needs to be considered waste. If signage is not already being reused, there may be another organization that can take it, such as materials that can be used by grade schools for art projects! Swag gifts can also be offered in forms that promote sustainability like reusable bags, coffee mugs or water bottles.

Post-Event Ideas:

  • Offer reusable swag gifts without individual wrapping..
  • Donate what is unused or may be recycled for other purposes: food or materials.


While sustainability might not be the first thing you think of when planning an event, it’s becoming more important to attendees and is easier to implement than you realize. Think about asking for feedback on your sustainability efforts and find ways to enhance the experience of participants while also finding creative ways to save money and create change for the planet.

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