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Your guide to running environmentally sustainable events

Simple, practical steps to support you from planning to delivery in order to help minimise your resource use. Learnings are taken from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup 2014, Homecoming Scotland and Festival 2014. 

Managing events in a sustainable manner

Organising an event, be it a small meeting or a major festival, can be a complex and time consuming activity. Anyone organising, hosting or attending music festivals, game fairs, agricultural shows, arts, community or sporting events in Scotland will should find the following information useful for planning and implementation. 

Key issues for event planning

Events vary considerably in their complexity, but there are common themes that apply to them all. Key issues that you should address during your planning are:

  • Venue selection
  • Transport and Travel
  • Supply chains and contracts
  • Energy
  • Catering
  • Waste Disposal and Recycling

These are all covered in detail in our guide on how to plan and deliver environmentally sustainable events.

Primarily written for event organisers it is an aide memoire. Of course savvy suppliers of; venues, caterering, stands, set design or waste management services can check out the relevant sections to glean what event organisers will be expecting and asking you for!

The guide provides simple, practical steps to support planning and delivery and help to minimise resource usage. It builds on learnings from high profile events hosted by Scotland during 2014, including Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup 2014, Homecoming Scotland and Festival 2014.

Balloons and sky lanterns

While initially great at creating a visual impact balloons and sky lanterns ultimately end up as litter. We have provided a sample policy document which we would encourage you to adopt and adapt for your organisation to help reduce the negative environmental impact of these materials.

How Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre prevent and manage their waste

Waste is a major cost for this established evening organisation. Watch the video case study to see how they are managing and preventing waste and their waste uplift bill. They recycle their carpets, use fully compostable cups, plates and baked potato boxes and even corn starch cutlery.

They were ahead of the game when the Waste (Scotland) Regulations came into effect. Do remember that all businesses, regardless of size, are now required by law to separate key recyclable materials; paper, card, plastic, metal and glass for collection for recycling. Urban food businesses are also required to present food waste for collection.


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