Sunday, February 27, 2011

You did "what" with the lanyards?

I stumbled upon a twitter conversation with Heidi Thorne and Tahira Endean this morning regarding lanyards. It all started with a terrific blog post by Heidi where she was discussing a Dark Side of Going Green at Events, i.e. the challenges with reusing lanyards for events when they may be soiled, have makeup on them, etc. and how some may be uncomfortable wearing a used lanyard. Some great comments came fast and furious... obviously it had touched the audience (way to go Heidi).

So this morning, the conversation continued. I suggested that perhaps we came up with an alternative post conference use for the mighty lanyard. That was intriguing. We threw some ideas out quickly. It was like a twitter brainstorming session. Tahira suggested creating clothing perhaps? I suggested creating tote bags out of the lanyards and then THAT got me thinking.

In 2008, I attended the Vancouver GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference. At that conference, there was a gentleman from...I believe Japan (not sorry) who said that at a festival there, the attendees are given a bag to collect their garbage, bottles, etc. that they used that day and to drop it off when they left. The creative aspect to this, is that all the plastic bottles that they collected, were used to create the plastic bags that were then given out at the next festival. I was blown away by the creativity and imagination. Wow!

So...we return to today, 2011 and the conversation is about post event uses for the lanyard. Here is my suggestion for a use. Collect the lanyards at the end of the event (which many of us do already), and use them to create "one of a kind" conference tote bags which will be either given out at next year's conference or they can become an exclusive item and sold at next year's conference. They can be created by local artists which will make them really unique. Perhaps an auction could be held where attendee's could bid on this creations......

Please share your thoughts and yes, I will be passing this along to the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference committee LOL!

Thanks to Heidi and Tahira for inspiring me this morning!



Jenise Fryatt said...


I LOVE this idea! If they can make bags out of used bottles, why not out of used lanyards? With all the great sustainable events minds out there and the connections we all have, this should definitely be doable. Way to go Judy, Heidi and Tahira!

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

Thanks Jenise. I completely agree. We should challenge ourselves to come up with ways to repurpose items like lanyards. At the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference, they modeled dresses made out of whiskey bottle bags :)

Heidi said...

I absolutely love the Japanese guy's idea of giving attendees their own garbage bag. Genius!

And, yes, that would be cool to create one-of-a-kind tote bags of collectible lanyards. I know there are a few companies that do repurposing of these types of materials. You might be able to find some sources on the Ecouterre website ( If I locate any others that do this kind of thing, I'll advise.

Thanks for always being so creatively green!

Tahira Endean said...

There are so many good examples. what CocaCola did with their recycling during the Olympics (building a playground, making hundreds of fleece blankets out of collected bottles) and what we did with clients this year to think ahead and build all their displays from reclaimed materials - that looked great - it really is about planning ahead. Think before we order. I know... the choir. Oh well since I can't sing in real life, I guess this is my song.

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

I know we are the choir LOL, but I find our enthusiasm infectious.

Tahira, thanks for reminding me what Coca Cola did at the Olympics, I had forgotten about that. They created some amazing stuff.

Heidi - I am going to check out that website asap. I would really like to try the tote bag idea, I think it would be well received.


Gavin said...

I’m really impressed that threes so much about this subject that’s been uncovered and you did it so well, with so much class.

Derek said...

it would be so nice to think of them being reused after major public events rather than being left to be litter. every day lanyards are used all over the world and disgarded and it is a real waste. has anyone found a company who recycle stuff into bags, can they use them?

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

I haven't found a company that takes lanyards and uses them to create other things, i.e. purses, bags, etc. If anyone knows of a company that specializes in that, let me know. Otherwise, it will be up to us to convince others (i.e. artists, designers, etc.) to come up with innovative creations using our lanyards.

Thanks for the comment Derek.


Custom Lanyards said...

Hey Judy,

Great post, great blog, great job. I actually work for a lanyard company and we give our misprinted and overrun lanyards away to charities, non-profits, churches, etc. There's a ton of organizations that would love to have them and don't really care what's on them. Here's more about it without trying to be too spammy.

The Green-Eyed Event Planner said...

Thank you so much for sharing your link!


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Rory Fugerson said...

I might as well think of my own way on how to use those lanyards in a unique way. It's a great suggestion.

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