Web 2.0 Expo conf goes Green - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (in that order)

Web 2.0 Expo in SF, April 22 - 25, 2008 writes on how they will be going Green at the conference, and makes the point that Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are its methods to create a greener event.

Let's hope these ideas will rub off on the Web 2.0 attendees to create Greener Web 2.0 Technologies.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (in that order)

It’s a bit hard on the old conscience being employed in an industry that’s creates as much waste as the events industry.  Much is made of the carbon footprint of an event, but I’m well aware of an even more daunting measure, the ecological footprint, which looks at the sum total of resources used.  Take a look at all that goes into producing an event the size of Web 2.0 Expo (including what our sponsors, exhibitors, and speakers bring) and you can either get depressed or try to tackle the problem.  We’re doing both.  ;-)  We have a long way to go, but I thought I’d share some of the changes we’ve implemented this year:

  • Reduced size of the program guide by 1/3
  • Printed the program guide on 100% recycled paper
  • Printed attendee direct mail on 100% recycled paper
  • Conference attendee bags are made with 100% post-consumer recycled materials
  • Bins throughout the building will promote the re-use of gently used program guides (making it possible for us to print fewer, hoping you’ll all share)
  • Event signage is produced on 100% recycled product
  • After the event, signage will be donated to use for art projects and other uses.
  • Aisle carpet is made of 25% post-industrial recycled product, is 100% recyclable and will be used on other events (same goes for carpet used in turnkeys, Long Tail Pavilion and the sales suite)
  • We’re thankful to be holding the event at one of the greenest facilities in the country. This includes heroic recycling efforts and solar panels on the roof. Please find full details here.
  • SMG, the caterer at Moscone, also has significant green programs, including using compostable serveware (when china is not being used), as well as donating unused food to local charities.
  • We have water coolers throughout the building and we encourage attendees to bring water bottles from home to use throughout the conference.
  • Bins will be placed near the exits toward the end of the event to gather badges for recycling
  • Web 2.0 continues not to offer shuttle service for the event; we encourage walking from our nearby hotels and also provide public transportation information on our website.

One thing I’ve become painfully aware of is that recycling is a good step, but not generating the waste in the first place is orders of magnitude more beneficial to the earth.  That’s why “reduce” should always be the real goal.  We’re working with sponsors on further steps for reducing, and with our vendors on all three Rs.  In some areas we’re aware we’re taking risks.  For instance, we’ve tried to limit the print run of the program guide this year, so there’s a chance we’ll run out if people don’t follow our lead and leave their used guides for others to reuse.  We hope you will all be tolerant of any errors we make in support of this effort.