Single use plastic is one of the worst materials in terms of marine and land pollution and when not recycled properly it can create hundreds of years of impacts to the ecosystem.


Being ‘single use plastic free’ is the new cool in events, however it can be a little tricky to work out alternatives for various items so we have given you some top items and their replacements below:


Plastic Water Bottles:


Encourage the venue or hotel to install a reverse osmosis system and brand their own glass bottles to sell in-house.

Use large water dispensers (20Litre bottles) and give out/or cost in branded water bottles for the guests to receive and keep to take home.

Install a filtration system on the hotel or venues in-house water system and offer daily top ups to clients with jugs on the conference or event tables.


Plastic Packaging:


Packaging wraps around almost any item today, from merchandise items to food produce in your catering outlets to transportation packaging for materials and exhibition stands.

The list can be endless and the volume of packaging can be high creating a large bill for removal post event.

The best way we found to reduce this, is to instigate policies around sustainability (including single use plastic and packaging) in their RFPs and contracts pre event.

Having it written into the contract means the engaged party becomes self responsible to either purchase packaging free items or to dispose of them consciously before attending your event.


Plastic Cutlery and Plates:


Notoriously events and programmes have a bad rep for producing lots of catering wasteAs in the point above regarding plastic packaging, it is imperative to have a Food Vendors Sustainability Agreement in contracts prior to the event.

Here is some options for reduction from best to worst:

Implement a menu choice that does not involve cutlery or crockery wherever possible

Fully reusable cutlery and crockery is provided and reused by the venue supplier

Bring Your Own Container initiative for clients

Install washing stations for clients and hire out reusable cutlery and crockery in-house


Based on your resources management system bring in rules accordingly. Ie if you have access to an industrial composter you can state that all cutlery and plates must be compostable. This massively reduces food waste as well and makes things easier on the back end as all left over food and the items they are served on go in the same bins. This is the system we operate if reusable items are not available on site.


As a worst case scenario, you should also always provide a full recycling system on every event, with an authentic and reliable supply chain to recycle and upcycle any items that you do end up having left over after the event, We prefer to terms this resources management. As ‘there is no such thing as waste just stuff in the wrong place’ (as per Formidable Vegetable Sound System).


by Gayle Murphy

CEO Global Green Events Ltd

Photo : Tessa Mercieca