The Sustainable Event

The Sustainable EventAt a UM Go Green-sponsored sustainability workshop, Nancy Gordon, senior director of University Events, and Holly Bowman, events coordinator, provided useful tips for making your event environmentally friendly. Here’s the lowdown:


  • When print materials are used, specify that your printer uses 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and soy ink.
  • When possible, instead of printing, post handouts and other materials online.
  • Publicize your event electronically (email, web, eboards, and social media).
  • Use local vendors (cuts down on fuel and emission costs and supports local business).


  • Provide recycling containers with appropriate signage — download recycling posters from UM Go Green. For outdoor events, you may request temporary exterior recycling containers through Facilities Management, 6-7570.
  • Use reusable, nondisposable plates, flatware, and other such utensils when scheduling events with caterers. For outdoor events where china and glass is not available, request recyclable plates, cups, and utensils (#6 plastic).
  • Use pitchers of water on tables or other bulk containers instead of bottled water.  
  • Use reusable coffee mugs and glasses/cups.
  • Use reusable bags instead of plastic to transport event materials.


To save on fuel costs and carbon emissions, consider the following video conferencing options:

Gordon says the best thing you can do is try to reduce your overall waste.

Each year, the United States uses 85.5 million tons of paper, of which we recycle only 22 percent or 19 million tons. Of the remaining paper, we could recycle up to 70 percent or 46 million tons, saving 782 million trees.

For more information on making your event or office space more sustainable, check out the University’s Resource Guide and Green Office Program.

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