Wanted: Waste measurement!

Sustainable events require meeting planners to ascertain the amount of waste produced during the course of the event.  Like the swimmer who has no idea if they are doing well until the clock measures their performance, planners need measurement to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts.

bound for the landfillAssuming that some degree of waste diversion (product re-use, recycling, composting or donation) is a potential for any event, we now need to show that it is not only possible, but necessary.

The Green Meetings industry Council Trash Challenge is an industry initiative intended to ignite a movement amongst planners and industry suppliers to overcome the barriers to basic sustainability measurements: Waste management data capture can be confusing for planners.  Because it’s confusing, they don’t ask.  When they don’t ask, venues don’t help or do not develop systems to provide clients such data.

The planners who say that such measurements are difficult are the same planners that know intimately 4 different meal counts, transfer times for shuttles, hotel commission percentages and how much a canceled exhibitor will affect their budget.   I make the argument that if you can ask a hotel for a rooming list, you can ask a venue for waste data.

Meanwhile, venues and hotels suffer huge expense for waste removal   I further assert that t is hardly wrong or audacious to ask your event suppliers to help capture event waste data.  Your efforts to track and reduce waste is a benefit to them and the effort to work together can be positioned as a partnership in smarter practices.

If venues resist, recall that they are often influenced by the successful performance of other locations.  Many examples exist:  San Francisco’s Moscone Center,  and Portland’s Doubletree Hotel are just two event suppliers who experience cost savings and positive PR as a result of sustainable waste management processes.

Measurement is both possible and necessary.

The Trash Challenge needs your participation.

Examples and ideas and suggestions?  Please share..


  1. Thomas says:

    I totally agree with you and that this is an important task to help companies take action in this matter. I think “planners”, mentioned above, in average don´t know.
    All ambassadeurs in this forum has their opportunity to share with their network that measurement is both possible and necessary. After a seminar in Stockholm a few months ago with Amy Spatriasano I got to know that there is a big market (73% in the US) already only awaiting the opportunity to get informed in this matter to take action. I reckon everyone that believes in this and also know their networks easily can gain good will by helping out the “unknown” for some leaders out there.
    Take care and stay informed / Thomas Persson

  2. Cletus Klemp says:

    I have thought about this myself and you could not have explained it better!

  1. […] addition to the previously mentioned (here, too)  GMIC Trash Challenge, Please share your thoughts, examples and resources for expanding on the […]

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