10 Sustainable Ideas for Post-Corona Practices in the M.I.C.E industry to meet the new hygienic standards
Disposable items seem to be the apparent easy solution to keep things clean and safe when facing the post era of an epidemic. But do not throw out the baby with the bath water! We have come a long way these last few years regarding solutions to slow man-made climate change, which has its own health challenges down the road. It is still absolutely possible, safe, hygienic and in the interest of our health now and especially in the future to use sustainable practices. Take a look at this list of 10 good practices for the post-Corona event industry in keeping events safe and sustainable!
Remember: If we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the pollution!
Meeting/ Conference Set-ups:
1) SIGNAGE: Instead of print-outs, make signs reusable (for instance by avoiding the year of the conference), or even better: Make use of electronic sign boards!
2) PENS, PENCILS AND PAPER: Use note pads made out of recycled paper. If you want to offer pens for a one-time use, consider those made out of paper, which will compose centuries faster than plastic. And to note down great ideas with pencils, try using a “sprout pencil”. When it’s time to stop writing, you can start planting the end of it! It contains seeds, that you can plant (anything from “Forget-me-not to Thyme). Before you know it, you will see vibrant flowers or fragrant herbs. www.sproudworld.com
3) IN-ROOM TECHNOLOGY: By using smart technology in meeting space from temperature controls to lights you can make an almost effortless positive impact, especially when you don’t forget to turn it off when not in use!
4) EVENT APPS: Luckily, we live in the tech age and many things that once were disposable such as hand-outs or even binders are almost a dinosaur of the past. So let’s embrace it by using Apps instead of printed agendas. By using e-signage over printed signs, especially those on foam-boards. By sending invitations and registrations strictly digitally (so much easier to track as well!).
Food & Beverage:
5) FOOD CONTAINERS: Use eco-friendly containers made out of 100% compostable natural fibers from harvested wheat or corn. These boxes are gluten-free, eco-friendly, microwave and oven safe. Unlike plastic and Styrofoam containers, no harmful chemicals will leach into the food. For some foods, containers made out of paper might be the solution: BioPlus Terra II boxes are made in the USA from 100% recycled paperboard and certified by BNQ to be 100% compostable in a commercial facility. Grease & moisture resistant due to a non-GMO lining, these boxes have no plastic, PFAS or flourine-based chemicals. https://www.goodstartpackaging.com/
6) DISPOSABLE CUTLERY: A great alternative to plastic are those made from bamboo or wood. BTW: Using real silverware that will be washed later in a dishwasher are safe as well!
7) STRAWS: Traditional plastic straws are nearly impossible to recycle as their shape makes it difficult to fit through recycle sorter machines. These typically end up in the landfill or worse. Compostable & biodegradable straws fully compost in commercial compost facilities and paper straws marine degradable. There are several types of great alternatives: Paper Straws - made from FSC Certified paper in a variety of colors and sizes. OR PLA Straws: Made with corn-based bioplastic PLA that is compostable, non-toxic and as strong as traditional plastic. OR “The Naked Straw” made from Avocado Pits! The added benefit here is that it’s made from agro-waste! To keep it hygienic, look for packaging made out of paper, for instance rice paper, rather than plastic! The devil is sometimes in the details! https://www.nakedstraw.com/
8) TEA BAGS: Forget about plastic spoons and stirrers, the Sprout®SPOON is a fully biodegradable spoon and tea bag in one. Simply unfold, brew in hot water and enjoy a cup of delicious fair trade tea. And what tastes great feels even better. This clever spoon can be broken down by nature’s own composting processes. https://sproutworld.com/sproutspoon-2/
9) MENU CARDS: Print your menus on seeded paper and ask your attendees to take them home with them. This is a win-win- for all in many ways: No trash left behind. The attendee can plant this seeded paper in his yard or flower pot, where the paper will turn to compost and the embedded seeds will turn into flowers. A few weeks later, your event will still be remembered – in a great way! https://www.bloomin.com/
10) WATER: Plastic water bottles seem the easy solution, but it’s the worst for our planet! There are plenty of alternatives that in the long run are more healthy. Remember that with each sip you take from a plastic bottle, you are ingesting a tiny part of the plastic – sometimes you can even taste it. Use water-filling stations instead that meet today’s hygienic standards: Touch-free and provide a reusable container, whether it is a glass or a reusable stainless steel bottle. Over the course of a day, the cost you save from using water dispensers and offering branded stainless steel bottles will offset the cost a hotel has to charge you for the plastic bottles.
BONUS: REUSABLE MASKS! Support a local charity producing hand-sewn masks! This will surely be a good conversation starter and won’t end up in the trash! In fact, it will be a good reminder of your event!
Almost all of these products, you can also customize with your logo or brand message, making it an ideal way for your company or organization to spread your sustainability story and get people talking. Most of the products are also made in the USA and make for less shipping-carbon-offset as well as supporting the local economy.
This list was put together with the best of intentions to keep a tsunami of pollution at bay as participants face some uncertainty in the post-Corona pandemic. The vendors mentioned have not endorsed us in any way and there are others out there, this might just be a start for you to explore. It is not a complete list, please share other good sustainable practices and ideas with us!
About Cocoon Incentives
The philosophy of Cocoon Incentives is to create long term memories with the events and services we offer to you. This goes hand in hand with a sustainable approach to nature and our resources, both human and natural.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) done right is a win-win for everybody involved: It creates a bonding factor between your clients or employees and your brand. It helps the community or project you selected. And it certainly boosts your company's image and your attendees’ spirit.
Cocoon Incentives and its trademark "Think Outside Your Cocoon" is the brainchild of founder Steffi Kordy, a German native with many years of experience in the hospitality and M.I.C.E. industry. She has lived and worked on six continents, for the last 20 years in Chicago and Florida. As such she has worked in the hospitality industry in various capacities. She has written several books on travel, culture, and trends, and is a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers. She also has a "green heart" and is passionate about corporate responsibility and sustainability in the services she provides. She currently serves as the "Sustainability Chair" on the board for SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Excellence) Florida & Caribbean.
Learn more at www.cocoonincentives.com/