Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pre-loved makes sense!

Have you ever been brainstorming ideas for an event and wanted to do something creative, but were worried that you couldn't do it because it wasn't very sustainable? Green event planners struggle with this all the time and I wanted to share an example.

Last fall I was planning an event called "Take Flight" and we were trying to incorporate the theme into the conference wherever we could. One activity that I wanted to do is to have a paper airplane contest that any of the participants could enter as many times as they wanted. The person who created the paper airplane that flew the furthest won an actual airline voucher that they could use after the conference. The participants could fly their planes during coffee breaks and lunch in the designated area, a volunteer was there to measure and record their distance.

I struggled with it because I couldn't envision using perfectly good sheets of paper for the airplanes and what could I do with them afterward? I could use 100% recycled content paper, but still, it was very wasteful. So......what about using "pre-loved" paper? You know, the paper that we collect throughout the day, i.e. fax headers, etc. that goes directly into the recycling bin.

That is exactly what we did! The agencies involved saved 8.5 x 11 paper for me during the month prior so that we would have enough for our participants to make as many paper airplanes as they wanted. It worked wonderfully and the paper airplanes were collected and recycled following the event.

This is just an example of how you can still be creative AND sustainable during your events.


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