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Green Event Tips

Events are a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate your office's or organization's commitment to sustainability. Events provide a venue to expand awareness of environmentally friendly practices and share best practices with guests. Events can produce large amounts of waste and often rely on single-use-disposable food service items and decorations. Please consider these ideas as you plan your next event:

Food and Beverages

  • Offer at least one vegetarian and/or vegan option.
  • Avoid individual use condiment packets.
  • Offer reusable kitchenware.
  • Choose food that is fair trade, local, or organic.
  • Avoid bottled water, bulk tap water can be requested, or offer pitchers of water.
  • Buy food in bulk as much as possible to avoid excess packaging.
  • Avoid individually wrapped items.
  • Provide smaller plates so that people do not take more food than they will eat.
  • Consider cold food options to cut down on cooking and heating energy use.
  • Avoid styrofoam.
  • Avoid plastic packaging whenever possible.

Decorations, etc.

  • Eliminate centerpieces or use only sustainable centerpieces.
  • Avoid excess heating and lighting when natural light and heat are available.
  • Avoid balloons; loose balloons can harm wildlife and balloon releases are not legal in Virginia.
  • Ellimiate giveaways or offer only consumable or green-themed giveaways.
  • Reuse or repurpose decorations.


  • Offer recycling and trash containers (widely accessible and clearly marked).
  • Offer composting bins to dispose of food waste.
  • Ensure that all of the materials from the event are recycled, reused, or composted.
  • Donate unopened, leftover food and beverages.
  • Place staff at waste collection points to ensure proper sorting of recyclables, compostables, and other waste.


  • Provide information to participants about the green aspects of the event.
  • Reduce the impact of promotional flyers and handouts by either eliminating entirely, reducing the size or number of paper flyers, or printing on recycled content paper.


  • Invite guests to bring their own water bottle, coffee mug, or reusable utensils.
  • Encourage guests to walk, carpool, or use public transportation.