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Where there are lots of people there can be lots of waste – and much of it plastic. Now, more than ever, the events industry is looking at ways to reduce its plastic footprint; do you need some tips to find out how you can reduce plastic waste? Get inspired using the options below!

Begin from the roots

Choose a venue and suppliers that are on board with your goals right from the start.  Although many venues now have sustainability policies in place you want to ensure that they will be able to commit to reducing single-use plastic use as much as possible. The same goes for your suppliers; think about what can be substituted out for more sustainable alternatives and articulate clearly what your expectations are before you engage them. 

Appeal to exhibitors and sponsors to play their part

Exhibitors and sponsors’ attitudes will play a big role in keeping the event plastic-free. Make sure to communicate your ethos and goals around sustainability and offer tips on how to work towards your plastic-free goals. In the case of exhibitions or large events, you could consider engaging an event sustainability consultant to guide you and event partners’ through your mission. 


Drinks and meals should be served in china or reusable tableware.  There are many sustainable good looking alternatives including bamboo if you don’t want to stick to traditional china plates and metal knives and forks.

Ban single-use plastic items


Make clear to the attendees that single-use water bottles, plastic cups, and bags will not be permitted on site but that there will be plenty of points to refill reusable bottles.  Make water points available so that attendees and staff can fill reusable water bottles. 


Coordinate with your suppliers, exhibitors, and partners to ensure the policy is carried forward; if your event sponsors are considering handing out swag items or gifts, this is an area that needs supervision. You have invested time and energy into promoting your event as plastic-free, and if sponsors spend all day handing out cheap throwaway merchandise items, it will undermine your event brand and integrity. Ask event partners to steer clear from any items that will wind up as landfill at the end of an event

Event-specific items

There’s a lot of extra plastic waste that can be avoided when creating event-specific materials. Consider what can be used again if you removed the date and variable logos. 

Things like event signage and even lanyards could be reused if they aren’t created specifically to a single event day. Provide collection points at reception and exits for lanyards and badge plastics to reuse again where possible. You can go the extra mile, choosing alternative lanyards materials such as cork, bamboo fiber, E-PET, organic cotton, or recycled fabrics.  

Signage is crucial at events; think about how it is used and the materials used to print on. Avoid plastic coating if possible, or make sure that things like pop up banners and signs do not contain specific dates or variable logos.  That way they can be reused over and over again. False myth – Balloons are often used to dress events or to signpost people to particular stands.  Balloons are not plastic – a common misconception – but are made of rubber and naturally biodegradable so they can be used with confidence.

Plastic offsetting

The purpose of plastic offsetting is to mobilize corporate capital and funnel it into cleaning the oceans. It is also to act as a financial disincentive to using plastics in the first place, leading to overall reductions in plastic use. If you are that serious about your commitment to a Plastic Free event, you can decide to measure your plastic waste and offsetting by collaborating with other organizations that will clear beaches, seas, and forests from the same amount of plastic you have generated at your event. This is a great way to sensibilize your audience about the issues that plastic is creating and inspire them to more conscious consumption.