How to Reduce Attendee Waste at Your Next Meeting

Meetings and events have a huge environmental footprint. If you want to reduce it, Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) author David McMillin has a suggestion for you: Replace disposable with reusable cups.

"Every event organizer should embrace the challenge of thousands of one-time-use cups," says McMillin, who got the idea from Kimberly Smith, director of conferences and events for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). At one of her recent conferences, she asked one of her exhibitors -- an organization called Cupanion -- to provide every attendee with reusable cups.

"Use of the cup is tied to an app that tracks reuse, waste diverted, emissions saved -- and helps fund water-based projects around the world," Smith tells McMillin, who adds, "Cupanion's approach is simple. Each time someone refills their Cupanion, they scan their Fill It Forward tag and someone in need will receive a cup of clean water. At AASHE's 2017 Annual Conference, Cupanion's app helped divert 1,417 disposable cups and 716 disposable bottles."

While Cupanion's is a fun approach, meeting planners could just as easily ask an exhibitor to sponsor reusable cups -- like they do name badges and lanyards.

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