With the increase in awareness about the harm that single-use plastic causes to the environment, you may be wondering how to reduce single-use plastics at your event. Whether you’re holding a conference or an exhibition, a wedding or an intimate dinner, there are ways to reduce your plastic consumption while still holding an event that is both environmentally friendly and a fabulous experience for your guests.
Choose the right venue
Choosing the right venue is an important first step to reducing the number of single-use plastics at your upcoming event. The venue you choose needs to be capable of using alternative solutions to some of the most common single use plastics e.g. straws, water bottles and single use catering boxes and wraps.
Beyond that, also ask to speak to the venue’s caterers, if they have them. Ask about their plastic policy – do they use a lot of plastic wrap in the kitchen or do they store in Tupperware containers that can be reused? Is their produce delivered in plastic packaging? How do they deal with plastic waste?
At The Brewery, the only single use plastic that we come across is the packaging that our suppliers use. All the other single-use plastic that used to be present at our venue, such as straws, stirrers, food boxes, have been removed and either replaced with compostable versions or not replaced at all.
Remove unnecessary plastic accessories
Often at an event, especially a conference, there may be a many plastic items that could be adapted to be more ecologically friendly. Giveaways, handouts and freebies, whether that’s a plastic name badge, lanyard, pen or plastic water bottle, are rife in the events industry and since a lot are single use for the event, they’ll just be thrown away once the day is over.
Instead of buying plastic versions of items, why not choose more ecologically friendly alternatives? Instead of plastic name badges, provide people with cardboard ones. Give your attendees bamboo lanyards instead of synthetic ones. Instead of pens, why not give them a pencil or other freebie, such as a tote bag? And, instead of disposable plastic water bottles, provide reusable ones and a water source.
Reuse items whenever possible
Sometimes, we use single-use plastic items when we really don’t need to. For your next event, ask yourself whether you could use reusable items instead. For example, instead of using plastic cutlery, use regular stainless-steel cutlery and just ask your attendees to return them to a certain place.
Another alternative for water bottles, instead of providing all your guests with reusable ones, is to lean on the supplies your venue has and potentially use drinks dispensers and glasses instead.
As Anna Keetley, the founder of Less Plastic, says “We don’t need to use disposables – we’ve just got into the habit of thinking that we do.”
Choose your single-use items carefully
While it may be your intention to completely avoid single-use items altogether at your next event, it may not always be completely possible. However, if you do have to use single use items, there are a number of great alternatives that will help you avoid reaching for the easy plastic option.
For example, when providing catering, why not use paper plates, wooden cutlery and compostable takeaway cups instead of the regular plastic versions? When providing pens for people to take notes, give them recycled, biodegradable pencils instead.
However, it’s key to be aware of the requirements that the items have for their disposal – compostable cups, as the name suggests, need to be composted instead of simply thrown away, since they need heat to decompose.
Consider recycling if nothing else
If you can’t avoid using single-use plastic at your event, make sure you use plastic items that can still be recycled. While it’s not a perfect solution, you’ll still be able to ensure that the items you use aren’t going to landfill, as long as you check that the venue itself has a good recycling policy.
Holding your plastic-free event at The Brewery
We take great care to minimise the amount of single-use plastic we use at The Brewery. As we mentioned before, all previously single-use plastic items that we had at our venue have either been replaced with more sustainable, eco-friendly versions, or not replaced at all.
If you’d like to ask us more about our practices or want to find out how to book your event with us, simply contact us and we’ll get back to you with everything you need to know.