Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste at Conferences & Events


Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste at Conferences & Events

Conferences and events are cesspools for single-use plastics. Bins overflowing with plastic waste and disposables are a common sight. The average stadium that hosts 300 events annually uses 5.4 million single-use cups – creating a whopping 63.75 tons of plastic waste. If these were replaced with reusable polypropylene (PP) cups used 300 times and then thrown away, that would generate less than one ton of waste (and no waste if the cups were recycled). If you’re a conference organizer or hosting an event or party, reducing single-use plastic is easy once you know how.

Here are 10 ways to cut out plastic and make your event more eco-friendly:

1. Keep decorations to an absolute minimum. Veto streamers, balloons and any other unnecessary decorations, and particularly if they cannot be reused and recycled appropriately.

2. Encourage attendees to bring their own reusables bottles and coffee cups. You can do this when you send out e-invites, event reminders, or promote the request on social media.

3. Partner with eco-conscious waste management services that can help to recycle and compost food scraps and other event waste.

4. Strategically place our refill stations throughout the venue to encourage people to refill instead of buying bottled water or drinks.

5. For swag bags, use fabric or natural tote bags as they can be reused, recycled or washed. If they are unbranded, their lifespan increases and reuse is almost certain as people nowadays dislike being walking billboards for businesses.


Single-use aluminum cups are the worst option for the climate, using 47% more energy and creating 86% more carbon dioxide than single-use plastic options.

6. Rather than placing goodie bags on seats or forcing people to take a bag packed with samples, catalogues and marketing paraphernalia from event partners, stack goodie bags on a table at the back of the room and offer attendees the choice of taking one or not.

7. If it is necessary to print signs, maps, programs and menus, make sure to use FSC-certified or recycled paper.

8. If lanyards are necessary, choose lanyards made of natural fibres with metal clips. Avoid branded lanyards as that way they can be reused.

9. If supplying tea, coffee, sugar or milk, don’t purchase individual sachets. Instead, ensure you buy these items in bulk and store them in large stainless steel or ceramic containers on the day.

10. Choose vendors and event partners that are like-minded (like FloWater!) Ensure that all who are involved in the event; venue, organizers, exhibitors, caterers, panelists, moderators, speakers, workshop trainers etc. are aware of your goal to be cut plastic waste, and are themselves committed to reducing plastic waste.


Interested in working with us for your next event?

Reach out to our Events Manager Brady@MyFlowater.com