Pennsylvania – Delaware Chapter, ASLA Green Event Policy and Strategies
The Pennsylvania‐Delaware Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects is committed to reducing our carbon footprint, conserving natural resources, and promoting Landscape Architecture as an inherently green profession. We choose to demonstrate a leadership role in utilizing and promoting sustainable practices. We continually look for unique or creative ways to engage our members, allied professions, service providers, and the public in sustainable practices, and share those ideas among our membership. We are committed to reducing our waste stream and our carbon footprint by using electronic communication, recycling, reusing materials, eliminating packaging bulk, and using mass transportation or car‐pooling.
As a service organization, we maintain frequent contact with our members about news and events, and hold educational and social events to discuss issues relating to Landscape Architecture and allied industries. To assist our member volunteers in promoting our sustainability policy, we have prepared Sustainable Meeting Guidelines. This document may be used as a checklist for organizing events, and as talking points when speaking with venues or vendors about the services they offer. In organizing events, we seek to contract services with companies and venues that are also committed to sustainable practices, or help them understand and provide simple changes in service that are better for the environment. We encourage repeat business with service providers willing to commit to providing sustainable services, and will let companies know that we will not use or recommend their services if they fail to deliver on committed sustainable services.
The following includes suggested strategies that can be used to implement the policy.
These guidelines may be used as talking points when speaking with venues about the services they offer. Please be aware that some of these practices may increase the cost of a service. That should be weighed against the ability to recoup those costs in admission fees. A meeting does not need to achieve every initiative. Volunteers or members may be able to provide some of these initiatives on their own, for example, if a venue doesn’t offer recycling, place a recycle bin in the room and take the recyclables home with you, or encourage attendees to take their recycling/compostables home. These strategies are grouped in the order that will offer the best implementation of a green meeting: reduce, reuse, recycle, located at the end of this policy document.
Education is important for continued improvement of this policy. In order to encourage the cooperation of event attendees, opening announcements AND literature for each event should include the following statement:
“It is the intent of the chapter to implement our Green Event Policy at every member event. While we do not anticipate expectations of a perfectly green meeting, we do intend to strive for continued improvement while facilitating a high quality and valuable meeting. A copy of our green meeting policy and implementation strategy can be found at our chapter website, www.padeasla.org. We welcome your comments or suggestions for continued improvement of our meetings, our green event policies, and the implementation strategies”
Innovation and meeting‐specific green strategies are encouraged. Successful new strategies, products, services, and venues, or lessons learned should be shared with committee members for potential future implementation. Successful strategies should also be added to the lists at the end of this living document for use by other event leaders.
Event coordinators are encouraged to prepare a few sentences or bullet points listing the metrics of the implementation of this policy. For example, an ePLAN article following a member event can include a statement such as “In addition to holding a successful event, we estimate that we reduced overall driving distance of 234 miles by commuting or mass transit, we posted all handouts online to save an estimated 325 sheets of paper, and for a 25 person event, only 4 pounds of garbage was thrown away”.
Event surveys could include questions such as “did you carpool or take mass‐transit, and if so, how many individual vehicle miles were eliminated by your actions?”
The policy should be periodically reviewed as to assure that it does not become stagnant or outdated subject to change or improvement.
- Schedule meetings where concentrations of members are located
- Schedule events in locations accessible to mass transit.
- Encourage carpooling with incentives or carpooling organization services.
- Use conference calling or hold webinars when appropriate.
- Offer handouts or giveaways at a handout table, rather than handing each member a “gift bag”
- Choose sustainably-produced products
- Examples: Use recycled paper for handouts, use recyclable cardboard rather than foamcore for meeting posters
- When non-disposable items are available at a facility, disposable items such as coffee cups, napkins, and utensils should not be offered to guests.
- Example: Linen napkins, glassware and silverware should be offered.
- Waste from food service should be avoided.
- Examples: offer bulk condiments rather than packets of ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, creamer and sugar.
- Choose food service or catering providers based upon their efforts to reduce waste and facilitate recycling easily.
- Offer fountain soda or beer on tap rather than individual containers.
- Serve bottled beverages in the original bottle, unless a glass is requested.
- Offer vegetarian options.
- Offer locally grown/produced and/or organically grown options.
- Be conscience of portion size to avoid waste.
- Offer water coolers or pitchers of water, rather than bottled water.
- If renting a vehicle, try to use ones that use clean fuel.
- Example: Ask tour bus providers if they can use biofuels.
- Ask the venue to adjust HVAC to conserve energy while still providing comfort to meeting participants
- Use EPA EnergyStar Recommended climate control settings of 70 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer.
- Encourage Hotels to offer green strategies.
- Are daily newspapers delivered only on request?
- Are toiletries provided in bulk dispensers?
- Are lights equipped with smart technology such as occupant sensors?
- Do hotel room thermostats offer smart controls or occupancy sensors?
- Do rooms have operable windows?
- Re‐use graphic boards, banners, and meeting props when possible.
- Handouts or logo items should be intended for long term functional re‐use.
- Example: offer quality coffee mugs rather than a cheap plastic party cup for a give‐away.
- Encourage attendees to bring their own re‐usable beverage containers.
- Encourage hotels to offer green strategies.
- Does the hotel provide a linen/ towel reuse program (rather than daily replacement)?
- Waste from food service should be avoided.
- If non-disposable items are not available, use recyclable or compostable (depending upon available services) utensils, plates, cups, napkins, etc.
- When beverages or food is served in recyclable containers, the containers should be recycled.
- Examples: Recycle beer bottles and soda cans.
- If “box lunches” must be served, plan for and offer cardboard or plastic recycling.
- Explore opportunities for composting food waste.
- Is in‐room recycling provided by housekeeping?
Adopted November 2013 by the PA-DE ASLA Executive Committee.