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Hosting a Sustainable Event

Planning a sustainable event can seem daunting at first, but there are a variety of guides and businesses that can help you achieve your goals!

The biggest thing to remember is to plan for sustainable waste solutions at the BEGINNING of your planning process. Building in solutions from the start will make integration easier and more successful.

Several cities, non-profits, and agencies have prepared guides to help with planning. We've listed links to several examples below.

The Basics:


  • Place recycling/ compost/ waste options side by side and label easily with easy to understand visual guides.

  • Place multiple stations around the event, don't make guests "hunt" for the right option.

  • Remind guests with announcements and signage.


2. Watch your plastic usage.

  • Plastic is the number one issue with marine debris and a challenge for environmentally friendly events. 

  • Replace single use plastic cups with paper or compostable plastic alternatives.

  • Ideally use reusable serving ware- washing plates, cups, and silverware will take more labor but is the best option.

  • Skip the straws. Most plastic straws are not recyclable in anyway. Because of their size and shape, they fall through cracks and gaps in recycling facilities- often jamming equipment. Use paper straws, wooden coffee stirrers, or offer reusable straws as an event giveaway.

3. Eliminate single serving products when possible.

  • Not using single use servings will not only reduce trash, but often reduce costs.

  • Single packet condiments, sugar, and beverages can be replaced with larger containers of multiple servings.

  • Make pitchers or large carafes of tap or filtered water the featured beverage, and avoid bottled water when possible.  Tea, lemonade, or similar drinks are also good choices.

  • If you must use single serving products, use easily recyclable NON plastic options. Aluminum cans and paper carton packages beverages are still good choices.

4. Hire sustainable caterers/ businesses.

  • Ask your caterer to use reusable, compostable, or recyclable serving items. Note: choose compostable items that are BPI-certified and have no fluorinated chemicals. 

  • Lists of local sustainable caterers and businesses for the Houston/ Galveston area are available here.

5. Encourage participation from attendees.

  • Include information in announcements and invites for events about your sustainability goals.

  • Encourage participants to bring reusable water bottles and or coffee cups.

Check out these guides to make your event spectacularly sustainable!


San Antonio Green Events Guide


Corpus Christi Sustainable Events Plan

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