This is one of the most challenging players to go up against on the Green Squad. He's not easy to conquer, but if you can, the impact is huge. Tickets, programs, handouts, note paper, ... events and excessive paper use seem to go hand in hand. Although paper can be recycled, it is more environmentally and budget friendly to avoid using it in the first place.
Thanks to the digital age and some amazing technology advances, the meetings industry has never been in a better place to go paperless.
Consider these four measures to use less paper at your next meeting:
- Try to send all relevant information digitally. Create a clear, easy to navigate website about your event and be sure you can also view it on mobile devices and tablets. These days, there are hundreds of apps available to planners.
- Provide no paper handouts or notepaper during the meeting. Attendees typically have their own preferred way of taking notes anyway, and many times it's right on their laptops or tablets. Handouts can be provided to attendees before or after your event via Dropbox, WeTransfer or SlideShare. Some of the more advanced event apps allow for PDF uploads of presentations too.
- Inform your attendees about your paperless ambitions. A message to your participants might look like this:
We are striving to use as little paper as possible during our event and encourage you to join us in this mission. Things might look a little different at our meeting - no paper information, materials, programs, handouts or notepaper will be distributed. Instead, we invite you to bring your laptop or notebook to take notes and view the presentations online prior to our event.
(If you’re using a mobile event app, now would be a great time to give them instructions on how to install the app and an idea of what information will be available via the app).
- If you absolutely have to print, always use the double-sided printing feature. If you haven’t already, go ahead and set all your printers and copiers to default to double-sided printing. Do it today.
If you must print, give back
Here's a great example of socially conscious printing. During the most recent ABN AMRO Tennis Tournament, the event team made a majority of the needed materials available digitally. Unavoidable printing was done double-sided with energy-efficient printers. For each printed document the team had to produce, their partner copier company, Ricoh, donated a small amount of renewable energy projects in developing countries. A win for everyone!