The URI European Assembly will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, from October 27 to 31, 2010. The team that will be organizing the conference will be looking at how to make the meeting as environmentally friendly as possible. Below is a list of suggestions created specifically for people who are organizing meetings and conferences:
Office Supplies, Equipment, and General Operations
- “Reduce, reuse, and recycle” resources in that order, whenever possible.
- Minimize use of office paper, only printing out documents when necessary and printing them two-sided whenever possible. Print drafts (vs. final copies) of documents on the unused backs of recycled pages when printers allow.
- Use paper products with the highest level of recycled content possible.
- Use low-energy light bulbs and turn off lights when not in use.
- Purchase energy-saving electronics (large or small) and other office equipment. To the extent possible buy/rent electronics and other office equipment and supplies from companies with a commitment to resource conservation and a strong record of environmental and social responsibility.
- Turn off computers and other office machines when not in use for a couple hours or more. Because many electronics continue to use electricity (sometimes as much as 40 percent or more) when they are turned off, unplug them overnight—or plug them into a surge-protector strip and turn it off at night.
- To the extent possible, recycle electronics, batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, food containers, paper, wrapping materials, plastics, metals, etc.
- Post flyers using transparent, biodegradable cellulose tape rather than acetate tape.
- Use natural paints and cleaning products that do not have strong chemicals that are harsh on people, our air and waterways, and other creatures.
- Leave signs in guest rooms asking people to turn air-conditioning/heating off while they are out of the room.
- Never have air-conditioning running while the doors of a venue are wide open
Meetings and Meals
- Conserve resources by trying not to produce more photocopies than necessary, not overly packaging meeting materials, and by collecting nametag holders at the end of the meeting for future use.
- When possible, choose organic and/or locally grown food products to support sustainable food systems and reduce transportation and other environmental costs, for example, of packaging, refrigeration, food storage, etc.
- In planning menus, select foods that are healthy for ourselves, for those who grow and process them, and for the natural environment where they are grown. Include vegetarian meals, and have meals planned using local, seasonal produce.
- Use tap water (when safe) and drinking glasses, instead of bottled water. Serve beverages from eco-friendly sources. In places where tap water is undrinkable give event participants refillable water bottles only, and supply larger water containers where bottles can be refilled.
- Have food and beverage-service providers use bulk dispensers for sugar, salt, pepper, cream, and other condiments. Avoid using disposable dishes, knives, forks, spoons, and other food-service items whenever possible.
- Compost (non-meat) food scraps whenever possible.
- Use paper products (napkins, paper towels) with the highest level of recycled content possible and compost them if possible.
- Arrange for a local biofuels group to take your post-event cooking oil rather than disposing of it.
Greening of Travel, Accommodations, and Off-Site Meetings and Events
- Seek to patronize hotels, restaurants, travel companies, and other business establishments with a commitment to resource conservation and an established record of corporate social and environmental responsibility.
- Establish an environmental statement or policy for the meeting/event, and share the policy with suppliers, participants, and speakers.
- Ask the accommodation or event venue to provide visible and accessible reduction, reuse and recycling services for paper, metal, plastic, and glass.
- Coordinate with the meeting venue in the hope that lights, air conditioning, and other equipment will be turned off when rooms are not in use.
- Advertise public transportation systems in all event materials.
- To the extent that finances allow, offset our “carbon footprint” by investing in tree-planting programs, renewable energy technologies, and other environmental measures that ensure a “net zero” impact from our activities.
- Invest any financial reserves in companies with an established record of corporate social and environmental responsibility.
For these, and other inspiring suggestions, visit the resources section of the URI website.
Tell us about your best practices!