Guide to Hosting More Sustainable Events

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Impact

No paper handouts are distributed. If they are, they’re printed double-sided on at least 30% post-consumer recycled content paper.
Make recycling the easy and obvious choice. Make sure there is at least one recycling bin for every landfill bin when planning your event set up.
In accordance with RIT’s Bottled-Water Policy, there is no bottled water offered at the event.
No Styrofoam is used at the event in the form of plates, trays, cups, bowls, or in any other product. The best choice is to use washable ware!
The event menu includes vegan options. Better yet, choose a menu that showcases healthy, local, plant-based options.

Want to do more?

Use the checklist below to help you plan more sustainable events.

  • Use electronic communication for advertising, marketing, and registration.
  • Let event participants, vendors and sponsors know about your sustainability efforts and goals for the event. 
  • Choose reusable items like dry-erase boards or projectors to display information for attendees, instead of posters or flip charts.
  • If you do chose to use printed marketed materials, use:
    • Vegetable-based inks for all publications.
    • Paper with a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content.
    • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper (available at the HUB)
  • Avoid using foil, lamination, or other effects that make the printed piece unrecyclable
  • If sending out “mailers”, design them in a way that does not require an envelope.
  • For reoccurring or annual events, avoid printing dates on signs, posters, and banners so that they may be easily reused.
  • Event coordinators should check the Multi-cultural calendar before scheduling events.
  • Use minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) for supplies and services when possible.
  • Make sure decorations or centerpiece do not create communication barriers for deaf and hard of hearing participants.
  • Include services that consider deaf and hard of hearing audiences.
  • Get creative and showcase renewable energy used when possible! Can you peddle power anything?
  • When possible, select event spaces that offer natural daylighting and minimize the use of indoor lights.
  • Calculate the carbon footprint of the event and share that information with participants.
  • Don’t forget to shut the lights and projectors off when the event is over!
  • Request certified fair trade, local, or organic food and beverages whenever possible.
  • Include vegan options in the menu.
  • Use washable service ware instead of disposables.
  • Avoid bottled water (per RIT Policy) and instead use pitchers or reusable dispensers.
  • An RIT approved caterer is used for the event.
  • To minimize travel and carbon emissions of participants, consider hosting the event virtually via video or teleconference. Bluejeans is a good option for hosting virtual events.
  • If it is an in person event, be sure and let participants know what alternative transportation options are available, including bus routes, bike share, and carpooling.
  • Encourage guests that are staying overnight to look for hotels with one of the following certifications: US EPA Energy Star Label for Hospitality, LEED, Green Hotels Association, or EcoRoom.
  • Make sure that all recycling and landfill bins are clearly labeled and that there is at least one recycling bin for each landfill bin.
  • Be sure to post on RIT FoodShare if there is left over food at the end of the event!
  • Try to avoid printing handouts and instead make all information available online. If handouts can’t be avoided, make sure they are double-sided and use paper that contains at least 30% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Collect and reuse name tag holders (if used) after the event.
  • Encourage participants to bring their own reusable bags, coffee mugs, or water bottles to reduce disposable items.
  • Avoid promotional materials, favors, condiments, snacks, and cutlery that are individually wrapped in plastic.
  • Choose event décor that is reusable, non-perishable and/or regional (avoid balloons).
  • If using floral arrangements, request plants rather than cut flowers, preferably locally grown.