Earth Day is right around the corner (April 22), and it's a good reminder that eco-friendliness is not only good for the environment but could also spell good will from your customers. Perhaps the easiest way for you to go green is to go paperless -- which could also save you some green. With running events, the role of paper is everywhere. In this post, we give you some fantastic ways to eliminate paper as well as a some innovative ways to make your event more environmentally friendly.

Eliminate Mail-in Registration

A simple place to start is removing the option to mail-in event registrations. Not only will this eliminate needless paper printouts and envelopes, it will centralize the process into one place. If you risk losing a large portion of your attendee base because of a paper preference, a phone call would be the ideal alternative. You have to manually process mail-in registrations anyways, so why not use that time to sweeten the process with a personal chat instead?

Incentivize Email or Text Check-in, Instead of Printed Registrations

You no longer need a paper confirmation to scan in attendees. Our check-in app allows you to scan a QR code that was emailed or texted to the attendee, as well as look up registrations onsite. To smooth over the concern in advance, notify attendees that there is an onsite treat for those who don’t print out their confirmations. It can be small - a custom sticker, cupcake, or pen - anything that rewards this earth-friendly practice will do.

Have Water/beverage Stations Available on Site, but No Paper or Plastic Cups

Remind your attendees prior to the event to bring their own reusable bottles. You can also sell them onsite for attendees who forget their own. Bonus! You can brand them to match your event. A win-win for you and Planet Earth.

Eliminate Paper Surveys

Not only are paper surveys bad for the planet, they are outdated. Set up a fully online survey that can be emailed or texted to attendees shortly before the event ends. Not only will you save precious paper, but your survey results are safely saved online where they can’t get lost.

Set a Plastic-free Policy for Vendor Sales

The 2018 theme for Earth Day is End Plastic Pollution. There is no need for plastic bags onsite when there are so many affordable and convenient alternatives. Communicate to your vendors that your event has a plastic-bag-free policy, you can have them agree to this with a terms of service on your event page when they sign up. Bonus! Have reusable bags with your event branding available for sale onsite for vendors that don’t offer them.

TREND ALERT! Give Out Virtual Event Swag

One of our favorite event trends of the season is virtual event swag, the cutting edge way to gift attendees with stuff we all get. Some virtual ideas could be gift cards, music downloads, credits toward products, resource downloads, or options to connect directly with trusted brands. Trust us, your attendees will like this even more than a bag full of printed ads.

Host Fun Incentives for Carpooling to and From the Event

Another fun idea is to have your attendees snap a selfie of their group carpooling to or from the event and sharing it with your event hashtag. All entries get entered to win a big prize. And we mean big; like a flat screen TV, vacation to Hawaii, or even a cash prize. Offer something that would make it worth it to people to coordinate the shared rides. Not only does this lessen pollution, it helps with overcrowded parking situations and increases your social media exposure. What could be better?

No Onsite Printed Schedules

Hear us out! We know that your attendees will be asking where to go probably more than any other question. Having maps and schedules on paper is the go-to method, but it’s not the best one. You can email it, text it, and have it on screen. You can include it in your event app or print it on the back of their badge. If done well, you will likely see even less frustration for your audience.

Use Biodegradable Badge Holders.

Large or small, conferences and festivals use massive amounts of plastic badge holders. Biodegradable badge holders are readily available and more cost effective than you realize. But if the cost of the switch is a concern, you can add it to the cost of the registration in advance. Just remember to thank your generous attendees onsite for contributing to less plastic in our landfills and oceans.

Bottom line, you don’t have to do all of these to make a significant difference. Start where you can, even if it’s only one small change. Together we can make a difference. If you have friends in the business who you know can participate, share this post with them. Just remind them not to print it…