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Green Meeting industry: how to approach the garbage problem


recycle binAttending a meeting can be exiting, exhausting, boring or interesting depending on the topic, the location, the quality of lecturers and on many other factors. But one thing happens for sure at any meeting: a big amount of garbage is produced. At a worldwide level, in terms of industry size, the convention and trade show industry is among the largest producer of waste: in fact, it generates 600.000 tons of garbage every here. Not only brochures, but also gadgets and big amounts of food are being thrown away at every meeting. Luckily, as sustainability issues become an important value for an increasing number of companies, green meeting facilities are spreading over and are gaining success. How to approach the garbage problem and let a meeting become greener? The first step is to reduce paper leaflets and plastic gadgets. Instead of sheets and brochures, a wifi connection to access online documents is provided now in many locations. Sometimes, participant can also download a dedicated app containing not only documents but many other resources such as maps and point of interests in the neighboring territory. This could be a way to create a positive value chain between the meeting industry and the surrounding area, promoting monuments, museums and integrating in the local tourist sector. Secondly, green meeting structures should be provided with distinguished bins in order to recycle paper, plastic and glass. It seems obvious, but it is still quite uncommon in many countries. Finally, for sure, also a well organized catering can provide high quality services while reducing the waste. For instance, using recycled paper cups and dishes instead of non recycled ones, and choosing zero kilometers ingredients so as to reduce the impact of transportation. After all, if the world is evolving towards a more sustainable pattern, why the meeting industry should not take part, as a main character, in this evolution?


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