Green party tricks

Some planners use pyrotechnics, others hire magicians, but green event specialists try to make the ordinary, extraordinary. The challenge for a green meeting planner is to rethink and reimagine, and by doing so, they often come up with some green “party tricks”.

Simple sustainable event strategies to boost attendee morale

One of my favourite sustainable event strategies is to save the coffee grounds from events/conferences/meetings for use as compost. I have a network of friends who are happy to receive the coffee grounds. Note: You can divide them up amongst a number of people. If you’re working on an event out of town, try to partner with a local organization such as a horticultural society or community garden and arrange for them to take the grounds.

It isn’t a difficult strategy to achieve. You just need to arrange with your caterer to save the grounds and provide something for them to put the grounds in. I generally line a bin with a strong garbage bag (the wet grounds get unbelievably heavy) and the caterer positions it conveniently beside the coffee maker. Believe me, when you are serving coffee to 650 attendees, the grounds add up!

It occurred to me that my attendees didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes; they didn’t know that we were saving the coffee grounds. For some events, I began posting a sign by the coffee station that informed the attendees that we were saving coffee grounds and what the grounds were going to be used for. (Use pictures to help to illustrate – perhaps a photo of a vegetable garden that received some of the rich compost.)

You can take this one step further by having a chalk board, white board or digital screen beside the coffee station where you can record daily the weight of the coffee grounds going to compost. If your event is only a one day event, you can still do this. Simply post the results from the morning coffee and then the results from the afternoon coffee break. For multi-day events, you can share the impressive numbers via email in an “eco-daily”. An “eco-daily” is an newsletter that informs the attendees of what has been accomplished each day.

Another “green party trick” is to create “seed balls” using some of the leftover coffee grounds in your seed ball recipe. Seed balls (also known as “seed bombs”) are a “method for distributing seeds by encasing them in a mixture of clay and compost. This protects the seeds by preventing them from drying out in the sun, getting eaten by birds, or from blowing away,” according to During one of the coffee breaks, set up an area where delegates can learn how to create seed balls and then give them an opportunity to make a few. The balls can then be given to primary school children to plant. Ensure that the seeds used are appropriate for your region, and are non-invasive.

I believe that your attendees have an inherent wish to “do good” and when you share with them that they are actually playing a part in something positive, they will respond positively.

Do you have a green party trick you would like to share? Do you have a great tip about how you took ordinary to extraordinary? Let us know!

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