Helpful Facts for Greening Your Event

This list of facts is a helpful guide for understanding why going green matters, how it benefits the environment, and how you can save money. It’s also a great way to build support for your greening initiatives and promote the good work that you’re doing.

What's the Problem?

Waste Generation at Events
A 2006 study of 25 different venues and events in California indicated that on average 2.44 pounds of waste is generated per visitor, per day.

186,400 of tons of recyclable paper is thrown away each year by residents in the Twin Cities metro area.

Every three months, Americans landfill enough aluminum to rebuild the entire United States commercial air fleet.  

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesotans threw away 1.2 million tons of recyclable materials in 2010, with an estimated value of $285 million. Instead, it cost more than $200 million to throw it away into landfills.


Local Food:
  A typical dinner travels over 1,500 miles before it's served.  Eating local food greatly reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and wasteful packing materials.

Food Waste:  Nearly 11% of non-residential waste consists of food and food-soiled paper.

Travel and Transportation
About 40 percent of all trips are shorter than two miles - a 30-minute walk or a 10-minute bike ride.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates the hotel community uses more than 180 billion gallons of water each year.

Helping the Economy

In Minnesota, the recycling industry creates more than 19,000 jobs and creates $3.48 billion in gross economic activity every year. 

Local Food
According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.  Buying local food prevents money from leaving the community at every transaction.

Saving Money

Waste Reduction
Collecting name badge holders for reuse at an event of 1300 attendees can save nearly $1000.

Typical exit signs cost $60 in energy costs per year per sign. Switching to a light-emitting diode (LED) only costs $1 per year.

Keycard technology can be used to control HVAC/Electricity.  Westin(r) Hotels and Resorts invested $120,000 in its keycard system for a 616-room hotel/convention center. The hotel recovered its investment through energy savings in just 10 months.

Saving Resources

Waste Reduction
Using reusable china rather than plastic disposables for meals served at a five day event with 2200 attendees can save approximately 1,890 pounds of plastic waste.

Each ton of paper recycled saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water.

In 2006, plastic, metal, and glass recycling in the Twin Cities reduced air pollution by more than 335,000 tons and water pollution by more than 1,250 tons. 

Performing routine maintenance inspections of faucets and toilets can prevent water waste. According to the EPA, a faucet dripping at one drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons per year.   

Travel and Transportation
A short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe.

Each year, public transportation use in the U.S. saves 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline. This represents almost 4 million gallons of gasoline per day.