Celebrate Earth Day by making a few small—but important—alterations to host an eco-friendly event.
If you’ve ever helped clean up after a big gala, you know just how much waste can come out of your average fundraiser. It’s no easy task to put on a major event, and often, environmentally-conscious practices aren’t always at the top of our minds.
So we put together a couple easy-to-implement ideas to help you make your upcoming fundraiser a little more Earth-friendly. We only have one Earth, after all!
Paper makes up one of the biggest portions of waste at a fundraising gala. Credit card imprints, bid sheets, and end-of-night receipts for item pickup generate a massive amount of paper that often goes unused.
In 2022, there’s really no reason to rely on paper receipts. If you have to have paper records, simply print off a report of bid numbers associated with item numbers for use at item pickup. Go paperless and offer to E-mail guests their auction receipts along with their thank you letter and tax-deductible information.
Consume Less and Create Less
Remember the Three R’s? Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. There’s a reason that “reduce” is first—it’s the most important part of protecting the planet! Many people forget this and simply focus on recycling. Reducing waste is easier said than done when trying to provide guests a top-notch eco-friendly gala experience, but critical nonetheless.
Lean toward material-light items when creating your swag bags. Instead of giving out single-use disposable objects or trinkets hand out something that guests will use again.
Glitter is a relatively unknown pollutant (and a type of hazardous micro-plastic) that can wreak havoc on rivers and lakes. It’s already banned in some countries, and for good reason!
Substitute glitter for metallic paint or sequins to get that little flash of brilliance at your event, and help save your local fish and wildlife populations.
Stay away from disposables, and use what you can again
Disposable utensils, cups, and flatware are one of the biggest sources of waste at a big event. Use the opportunity to advertise your environmentally-friendly approach.
Go recyclable and compostable
Use supplies made from recycled materials when possible, and use supplies that can be composted or recycled.
Many types of plastic containers are single-use only, and cannot be recycled. Check the labels on supplies against what types of plastic can be recycled in your area.
While paper and cardboard are recyclable, it still takes energy to process them. That’s why “recycle” is the last of the three R’s—it should be your last resort!
Source food and drink locally
Transporting items like beer, wine, and food from one place to another—often across state or even country lines can be wasteful and costly.
A great way to develop partnerships with local businesses is through sourcing meat, produce, dairy, and alcohol locally. Sourcing locally cuts down on shipping costs, resources used, and supports your own community!
Rent instead of buying
Rent tablecloths and other event day decorations instead of purchasing them new.
Share items that must be purchased with another nonprofit organization to help another eco-friendly event. Make a plan to work with local businesses to get reused items to them after the event.
Thank you for doing what you can to help save this planet we all share. Happy Earth Day!