Trade Shows, expositions, conferences......we all enjoy attending them, but have you ever stopped to wonder how much garbage is generated by these events?
According to Judy Kucharuk and Jennifer Singer of Footprint Management Systems Inc. (FMS), "the environmental cost of these events can be staggering". Footprint Management Systems Inc. of Dawson Creek, recently were contracted to assist with planning the Horn River Basin Economic Development Symposium held in September. "We are extremely pleased with the Symposium. Not only did it meet the goals and objectives of getting the information out about the Horn River Basin, but it was very successful at reducing the amount of waste resulting from over 200 people attending meals and meetings over one and half days".
Footprint Management Systems Inc. (FMS) developed a greed meeting policy complete with strategies to support the policy. The goals were to minimize the solid waste produced by the event that will be left in the community; reduce the amount of printed materials generated by the event; minimize the amount of energy consumed and carbon emissions produced by the event; and leave a legacy of influence through education and awareness to both community and attendees regarding green meetings and event planning.
After completing a post event evaluation, green event audit and survey, FMS posted the "Green Meeting Top Ten Strategies" of the Horn River Basin Economic Development Symposium on the Town of Fort Nelson website. The results were dramatic. For instance, by choosing to use only glass and and china dishware, stainless steel cutlery and cloth napkins for the over 200 attendees, the environmental savings were staggering. Over 1000 small and large foam plates, 1800 paper napkins, 1000 foam coffee cups and over 1200 pieces of plastic cutlery were kept from the local landfill!
Symposium registrants were not given out bags of "swag" by organizers. Instead, Nexen sponsored USB keys for all registrants which were preloaded with the presentations and symposium information saving thousands of sheets of paper being used to create package for everyone.
"It always comes down to choices", stated Kucharuk. "You can't always make the best choice, but you can generally make a better choice". Balancing the needs of organizers, stakeholders and participants can be difficult, but it can be achieved. Proof of this is the dramatic numbers released by FMS. Over one and half day symposium for over 200 participants, throughout three meeting/food service venues, only 2 1/4 bags of garbage went into the Town of Fort Nelson landfill.
For a complete list of the top ten strategies, check out the Town of Fort Nelson website at www.northernrockies.org/bulletin/HRB_Symposium.html
Printed in the October 1st Fort Nelson News