Thankfully, a great deal of excitement has surfaced regarding recycling and the improved capture and diversion of waste at conferences and events. Still, all this focus on ‘end of pipe’ solutions mustn’t distract us from re-invigorating efforts to “Re-Use” before we “Re-Cycle”, where possible, anyway.
Rather than plan to recycle all waste, consider items that can be re-used and given new, useful lives. Consider the millions of pounds of banner material that gets discarded (read: landfilled) worldwide every year. What if meeting planners partnered with companies like the innovative, hip and cool Red Flag Design in Vancouver, BC?
Red Flag Design is on a mission to “explore the vast potential laying dormant in the unconsidered applications of recycled materials”. Their Alternate Use Material (AUM) is a line of products which feature brilliant uses of banner material that is expertly, fashionably rendered into space saving bags.
Re-using can have community benefits as well. Inspired organizations like Portland, Oregon’s School and Community Re-Use Action Project, or S.C.R.A.P. are an award winning collaborative who find brilliant creative uses for foam core (avoid it’s purchase in the first place, please!), compact discs, wine corks, magazines and countless other things.
More examples exist and are, as usual, limited only by your persistence and creativity. It is so important to track the waste associated with your event and to identify goals and actions that will support your efforts to reduce waste through better planning (Re-Think and Re-duce), donations (Re-use) and diversion (Re-cycle and Composting). Measure the waste you divert from the landfill and record your results as part of the Trash Challenge!
Plan to succeed, not waste!