We are determined to create minimal waste at this year’s regional network meeting! In order to meet our zero waste goal, we need to work together in our planning before, during, and after the conference. Help us help the planet!

Sign that reads: "We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly." (Quote attributed to Anne Marie Bonneau.)

Here are six simple ways to reduce waste at the meeting:

  1. Bring a name tag. We will not be printing name tags for attendees, so please bring your own from your organization.
  2. Bring a reusable water bottle. We will provide glasses for you to use at the hotel, but please bring a reusable container of your choice to refill and carry with you between sessions, field trips, and meetings.
  3. Bring a reusable coffee/tea container/mug. We all know warm, caffeinated beverages are highly desirable during conferences. Please plan ahead so you have a zero waste way to sip at your leisure.
  4. Plan to use your electronic device to access the conference website and program materials during the meeting. Please help us prevent unnecessary printing. We will post visible copies of the agenda, speaker and field trip information, and tips on local activities for independent recreation at the meeting venue. We will not be distributing printed program booklets. There will be whiteboards throughout the facility to indicate directions or last-minute updates for the group.
  5. Take advantage of the cloud for document sharing. When planning group meetings and sessions, post materials to an online collaboration workspace (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox, SharePoint, etc.). We will also make electronic copies of archived conference materials available to attendees after the meeting.
  6. Place the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your hotel room door so your room will not be serviced, and towels and sheets will not be changed unless absolutely necessary.

Are you feeling inspired yet?!  Here are additional steps you can take to reduce or eliminate waste at your own programs:

  • Provide reusable dining ware. Do not use straws.
  • Compost and recycle whenever possible. Conduct research in advance on industrial composting in the area, and inquire about who will coordinate reducing contamination in disposal.
  • Working with local farms or 4-H groups can offer another opportunity to keep food waste out of landfills. Some farms welcome food waste as a source of animal food (think happy chickens!).
  • Source food locally. Inquire about reducing food packaging on locally-sourced food.
  • Only offer sustainably sourced conference awards or materials from local vendors.