Trade Shows & Waste
Apr 22
My friend Eve recently texted me from a publisher's trade show in L.A. She was reporting on ridiculous event policy, which probably has its own hashtag. She took her re-usable cup to the trade show, but the coffee vendors wouldn't fill it. It was against their rules.

OK. She bought coffee in a vendor-provided paper cup, rinsed the cup and took it back later for a refill. And that got nixed too. Participants were not allowed to use their own cups, nor were they allowed to re-use the vendor cups. How's that for a good eco-policy? It's absolute crap.

My reaction to this type of situation is a very self-righteous refusal to participate. I'll show them, right? I won't buy their coffee. And they feel no pain whatsoever as a result of one person boycotting their coffee in a paper cup or their wine in a plastic cup. Sad but true. While we can only take charge of ourselves, and every cup makes a difference, let's face facts. A big push would be a big deal. I'm thinking something similar to Bruce Springsteen canceling concerts in North Carolina. That kind of impact.

So I'm putting out a call to all the event planners out there, all the corporate trade-show warriors, concert organizers, and brides. You have the opportunity to make a huge difference. At your event, you get to call the shots. You get to ask the big Qs, like this one: Why the hell can't vendors at a convention center use real cups and glasses for wine and coffee? And there are so many more issues that affect the location selection for your event:

- Will your event have a zero waste policy?
- Will you allow plastic cups, utensils, or disposable plates at your party? Will there be paper napkins?
- Will your event be held at a facility with a Waste Diversion Policy?
- Will it be held in an energy efficient building that doesn't waste water?
- Will excess food be donated? (Starbucks is now doing it!)

There are so many ways you can make a difference. If events planning is your job, or if you're a liaison for a company event, this is a way for you to make a difference and to stand out from the crowd. Become an expert in eco-events. You have one fan already - me.
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