Reduce and Reuse: Meeting Spaces Go Green

multicolored recycle symbol on yellow background

As the world turns to a new year, many are coming to realize that our resources are finite and becoming sustainable is crucial to the future of our planet.

Even in our everyday activities, green thinking and sustainability are critical. Event spaces are also having to assess the imprint they are leaving. Smart Meetings spoke to event spaces within the United States that were ranked by WiseVoter as top recyclers in the country.

Maine: Composting by the Sea

light house in maine

According to WiseVoter, Maine leads the charge with the most recycled plastics when compared to other states.

Inn by the Sea offers event planners 1,300 sq. ft. of meeting space and also has a 19-year-old food compost program. At the time of its inception, the area lacked a local composting business. The Inn then partnered with a local farmer for their composting needs. Eventually, when the local farmer retired, Inn by the Sea started working with Garbage to Garden, a community driven organization founded in 2012. Because of this work, the Inn manages to keep 1,000 lbs. of organic material out of the landfill every month.

Inn by the Sea, which holds a LEED Silver certification, uses recycled glass water bottles that save approximately 1,600 plastic bottles a month.

Anaheim Convention Center: Happily Green Since 2004

exterior of anaheim convention center

It may be the home of the happiest place on Earth, but Anaheim is also home to one of the convention centers in the country working to become a leader among green and sustainable meeting spaces. Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) offers up 1.8 million sq. ft. for meetings and has been actively working on its green initiatives since 2004. In 2011, the program expanded to include a sustainable beverage program, recycling center, food donations and a green roof. As a LEED-certified facility, ACC collects as much recycled material as possible before sending it off to be recycled.

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Prior to a recent fire at the off-site Republic Services facility, roughly 40-50% of waste was being recycled. Currently, ACC is preparing to create an on-site facility and sorting program in the hopes of further reducing the impact on the local landfill and environment.

Anaheim Convention Center has active partnerships with Certified Recycling organizations, Habitat for Humanity and Second Harvest Food Banks and through these connections, excess material is diverted away from the landfill and redirected towards communities in need.

Oregon: Sustainability Is the Name of the Game

exterior of oregon convention center

In 2004, the Oregon Convention Center (OCC) became the first convention center to be LEED-certified. With over 475,000 sq. ft. of convention space, Oregon Convention Center actively encourages meeting planners to think green in their event planning process. Whether it is helping meeting planners find the right type of signage or suggesting falcon board over foam core, OCC offers planners their own knowledge of environmentally friendly options for producing a standout event.

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OCC’s recycling initiative for waste diversion has prevented between 63-64% of unnecessary waste from heading to the landfill on a yearly basis. Aside from making sure food that’s scraped is processed for composting, unused food from events is donated back to the community and local shelters.