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Green events planning guide

Events can attract large number of people, which can in turn generate a high volume of waste. With careful planning and adopting good management practices, you can avoid unnecessary waste and minimize litter.

Go digital. Consider using a mobile app for digital registration, check-in and scheduling. This will not only get event information into participants' hands via text or email, but it will allow you to keep participants informed of changes and updates. It also streamlines processes while eliminating unnecessary paper waste. Consider using information on how to #RecreateResponsibly ( in event materials.

Focus on reusable event materials

  • Design items, such as banners or directional signage, with generic language without dates so that they can be reused at future events.
  • Re-collect name tags and lanyards after the event for reuse later.
  • Discourage single-use containers. Instead, encourage participants to bring their own reusable water.
  • bottle (or provide one as part of the event registration) by providing water-refill stations at the event.
  • Instead of plastic utensils, choose washable, compostable and/or biodegradable options.

Be mindful of your carbon footprint

  • Encourage carpooling or set up group transportation.
  • Buy locally sourced products and services.
  • Look for ways to eliminate food waste.
  • Use LED bulbs for additional event lighting (if possible).

On the trail. To help prevent the spread of invasive species, please ask participants to use boot brush stations before and after trail events. If boot brush stations are not available at the facility, encourage participants to bring their own brushes and provide an area to use for boot brushing (horse hoof picks work great as giveaways for this purpose).

On the water. Check to see if boat wash stations are available locally or inquire about a free portable boat wash station through Michigan State University. Encourage participants to "clean drain, dry and dispose" to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Incorporate recycling. Set up recycling stations. A best practice would be to have a dedicated volunteer or contract with an event waste management company to assist with recycling needs. Composting may be available in some areas as well. We challenge you to aim for a zero-waste event!

Provide eco-friendly favors. Look for ways to encourage sustainability by providing favors like reusable tote bags, refillable water bottles, reusable straws, native plant seeds or tree seedlings and boot brushes over more traditional, less eco-friendly options.

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