How can I make my event more sustainable/kinder to the environment?

I’m organising a UK conference for 800 guests in September and I’m looking for ways to improve the environmental impact. E.g - last year the venue supplied nearly 2000 bottles of water to our guests and that’s just too much plastic waste!

The venue isn’t comfortable putting out water jugs and glasses due to the numbers of guests and limited service space for these.

The venue itself isn’t very hot on sustainability so it’s down to me as the event manager. I was wondering if you guys had any inspiring suggestions for ways we can be responsible for making events greener? Any areas I should be looking into?

Thank you so much!


Hi Gabrille,

This is a really good question!

Going to tag in our @Top_Members to see if any of them has any expertise here who can jump in and help. Some of the @Venue group might have some really great expertise to share on this too.

Can anyone help @GabrielleG here?


Hi Gabrielle,

I love going to festivals, and for the last few years, they’ve been a lot more sustainable with their beer cups.

The eco cups are recycled, can be printed with the event artwork, and have a £1 deposit.

It’s fantastic marketing because they can be taken home and used for years (I have mine from 2016 and it’s going strong!).

I appreciate it’s not the same type of event, but with the right artwork, the cups become a talking point in themselves. You could hand them out to each attendant at the door, and have large refillable water stations dotted around the venue?



Hi Gabrielle,
It’s tough working with a venue that has not seen the light yet in terms of sustainability but there are still things that you can do!

With the venue, you can make sure you choose sustainable catering options; locally sourced, cater for a range of diets, top marks for providing a locally grown vegetarian meal! No disposable crockery or cutlery. Fairtrade tea and coffee. You can also make use of natural daylight so you can switch some lights off in your conference rooms.

Also, money talks: you could make it clear to your venue that sustainability is important to you and so you will not be using them next year if they cannot show you an environmental policy that addresses their plastic waste.

One area that you can work on is reducing materials provided to your delegates. You could check them in electronically on arrival (you could even use the Eventbrite app!) and ask them not to print out their ticket.

You could reduce the number of handouts that you give - do you need to give every delegate their own information pack? Could you print a pile and then people can take and leave as needed? You could also use screens around the venue to show key information such as the programme for the day, to reduce the need for delegates to have their own handouts.

Gifts for delegates; if you must give these out, make them useful so they are not thrown away.

That’s a few quick thoughts but I have loads more, let me know if you’d like any more tips! All the best…


Here’s an Eventbrite blog post that might help you.


Thank you so much Abena, this is a such a helpful starting point! I’ll look into these. I really like the idea of using as much natural light as possible and also removing print materials. I may have a few more questions pop up, I’ll shoot them across just in case you have the time to make some more suggestions :smiley:

Hi Aman, I love this idea! I too have a ton of cups from festivals and I never thought about this. I have looked into water-coolers but branded cups to take away would also be great. Maybe I could even have the agenda printed onto them! I’ll look into it.

Funnily enough, I’ve just done an interview with the founder of Raw Foundation, which works to reduce waste at events. She had some great examples of how banning plastic bottles and cups at festivals had made a massive difference to the waste they create. See the full interview here:

1 Like

Some great suggestions here!

Hiya! Someone suggested these suppliers of name badges to me ages ago - it was outside my budget but could work for you.

Think there were some other eco friendly suggestions in the name badges conversation on here :slight_smile:


Sustainability is a subjective word too! I’ve been ‘delivering sustainable’ events in various guises for 10Years+ but the message has changed. In Wales we have the Future Generations Act which considers everything from environment to social!


And bonus points if your locally-sourced organic vegetarian caterer also takes any food waste away and composts it!

If you HAVE to use disposable crockery & cutlery, check out these guys:

1 Like

Even if your venue isn’t very switched on environmentally, you can make sure your guests are. Communicate with them in the run up to ask them to bring their own cups or refillable bottles, remind them to bring reusable bags if there will be things for them to take home etc. It all adds up and it’s a great way to get people engaged in the cause.

I do think that a couple of event and catering equipment for hire companies are trying to look at more sustainable dinnerware and equipment to make sure that we do not end up with too much disposable plastics that can’t be easily recycled. I imagine that there are a lot of these parties of events that end up with a huge pile of rubbish at the end of the whole occasion… Considering the amount of parties that there are in London at any point of time, that’s a fair load of tax on the planet don’t you think? My company for one is always looking for more sustainable solutions and keep our ears to the ground of any new items we may add to our repertoire.

If you want to make your events greener, we have produced a downloadable guide covering all aspects of sustainability:

This guide is specifically targeted at @Festivals organisers, but we have another one coming out soon for conference organisers. However, there are useful tips for organisers of all sorts of events so do take a squizz!


Have you considered water fountains, canned water bottles, water bottle giveaways

I’m delivering an event this year which will need to consider the sustainability agenda. We are reviewing everything to staging through and up cycling seating to future usage, transportation etc.

Most things can be tweaked to be sustainable or you can off-set your carbon footprint etc

Also, dont forget to think about how you can use social enterprise and social good organisations

Let me know if I can help at all with reducing the environmental impact of your event, that’s exactly what we do!

1 Like

Hi Gabrielle,
We are events management students from University of Gloucestershire. As part of our assessment, we have written a blog on how to produce a plastic-free event. We have done a lot of researches and our blog ideas were inspired by many different sources. I hope it will help everyone, who is interested in plastic-free events and it would be amazing to know all of your thoughts in the comment section in our blog. Thank you

Hi Gabrielle,
If you’d like to find someone to help you with making your event more sustainable, then we have started a jobs board for those working in the sustainable events industry. If you send me details of the project then I can post a request.

See here:


We’ve been doing some thinking on how coronavirus will affect sustainability in the events industry. You can see our thoughts at