Simple, Sustainable Swaps to Plan Events with Less Waste

By Veronica Delgado /London Venue Expert

Fri 3rd Mar 2023 Corporate Venues

Simple, Sustainable Swaps to Plan Events with Less Waste
Royal Lancaster London Events Venue & Hotel, Known for Sustainable Practices


Planning events can be incredibly satisfying; watching your hard work come together and seeing the benefits to your clients or friends and family. However, even though 80% of event planners (source: micebook.) are now including waste-reducing tactics in their process, single-use items, food waste, and transport emissions are still creating lasting environmental damage.

If you’re putting together an event, here are some simple but powerful tips for creating a memorable, environmentally-friendly occasion.

Swap To Reusable and Recyclable Decorations

A large percentage of decorations, though convenient, are non-recyclable and create waste where other materials could be used. Single-use lanyards, foil balloons, and PVC banners are frequently used at corporate events and take years to break down when disposed of.

Fortunately, there are plenty of eco-friendly decor alternatives to choose from. Hire companies offer a variety of fabric linens, including drapery, that can be an affordable option that’s used time and again at different events.

A really simple swap? Collect and reuse your lanyards at different functions.

In the world of event planning, so much reusable and recycled decor is available if you’re willing to seek it out. First stop? Speak with your venue to get their supplier recommendations.

Really love fresh flowers for your event? So do we. Work with a florist who follows the latest in sustainable practices by only using locally sourced seasonal flowers and avoiding floral foams and plastic liners.

Reduce Food Waste

Large events regularly provide hearty meals for attendees. The problem lies afterwards, where leftovers turn into a major environmental problem. This happens when food waste breaks down, releasing methane – a sizable contributor to climate change. Ethically, it’s also viewed as hugely irresponsible when areas of the world are experiencing food shortages and famine.

To counteract these issues, why not donate excess food? Many charities and food banks will accept leftovers, as well as ‘food to go’ apps that allow people to pick up leftovers at reduced prices.

A great way to reduce food waste is to serve food that’s individually served or plated rather than buffet-style or grazing-style. This also means you can order less food when planning the event, saving money and the planet.

One of the major things to take into consideration when planning an event of any size is that you can always lean into your suppliers to help suggest sustainable solutions. The industry is abuzz with creative ideas and ways to cut down any event’s footprint.

Swap To Digital Invites

A handy multi-purpose solution: Digital-only invites help to reduce paper wastage, time, and overall cost. Where printing paper invites contributes to deforestation and greenhouse emissions; digital invites provide a sustainable, efficient, and cost-free way to communicate with guests.

On top of this, digital invites also give event planners a faster and more efficient way of tracking guests’ responses, further aiding planning, and helping to anticipate waste. Sites like Paperless Post offer beautifully designed invitations and you can even use your own graphic designer to create something custom to send through the app.

Encourage Car Shares or Provide Shared Trasport

If you’re hosting a large event, suggesting carpooling means fewer cars on the road, cutting emissions and cutting costs for attendees, with the potential to split fuel costs and parking fees between passengers.

Depending on the size of your event, you might consider hiring shuttle buses to transport large groups of people. One bus can easily replace dozens of cars on the road and slim down your event’s CO2 emissions.

Why Local Vendors and Suppliers Are The Sustainable Choice

You’ve been recommended an amazing catering team. The only issue: they’re based over 100 miles away. Considering that photographer you love on Instagram? She’d have to be flown in from a city hundreds of miles away.

Check out your local scene instead. Not only can you cut back on travel this way, but you might also be able to source suppliers who care passionately about their carbon footprint. Look for businesses that are green certified or part of environmental alliances.

Swap To Venues That Care About Environmental Impact

When choosing locations for your event, it’s easy to get caught up in capacity, catering, décor, and all the other moving pieces. It’s important to remember though, that looking at a venue’s sustainability practices can help you understand the type of place you’re dealing with, as well as the impact that working with them may have on your business.

For example, venues that engage in the following all contribute positively to sustainability:

  • Recycling schemes
  • Renewable energy schemes
  • Diversion of their waste from landfills

Associating with venues like this not only reduces your carbon footprint but helps promote a reputation of sustainability within and around your own business — a great motivator for other businesses to want to work with you in the future.

Look for venues with ISO 20120 certification, or others that are part of the Hotels for Trees network. In London, Royal Lancaster stands out as a particularly environmentally responsible hotel and events venue, part of Hotels for Trees.

All The Choices You’ll Need For A Greener Event

Whether it’s an earth-friendly corporate function or an informal team-building day, Venue Crew gives you a head start, with a huge range of venues and all the insight you need to make your decision about which is most in line with your business values. Speak with us today and we’ll help you find the right event space.


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