Event RecapBack
Seminar -- “Planning a zero-waste, low carbon event”

In recent years, more and more people are concerned about the waste produced by large-scale events. Some marathon games have stopped distributing paper cups, some organizations have held markets that encourage BYO containers, and some enterprises have offset the carbon emissions of their activities to make the events “carbon neutral”.  Earlier on, the Environmental Protection Department has also issued “A Waste Reduction Guidebook For Large-Scale Event Organizers” which offers guidelines to event organizers.

How can we organize events in a more environmental-friendly way? Is it possible to make an event “zero waste”?

We organized a seminar entitled “Planning a zero-waste, low carbon event” on 8th June. It aims to inspire potential event organizers on the principles of carbon and waste reduction and gave them tips to put these into practice during event organisation. Three guest speakers were invited to share their experience -- Ms Patsy Cheng, Director of SEE Network; Wing, Co-Founder of We-Use; and Ms Xing Lan, Senior Sustainability Consultant of Carbon Care Asia.

Nowadays many companies use disposable tableware when they hold events, which give rise to huge plastic waste. To tackle this problem, Wing, the Co-Founder of We-Use, established a tableware renting company which aims to replace “dispose” with “reuse” . She introduced the service workflow of We-Use and the ways for customers to engage its tableware renting service. Emphasizing the environmental harms caused by disposable tableware, Wing shared the successful case of her company’s reusable cup renting service for a large-scale outdoor event.

Patsy is the founder of the “Shop Naked” movement in Hong Kong, who actively advocates “shopping without packaging”. She has successfully organized several “shop naked” events, including a green youth entrepreneurship program at the beginning of this year, which operated a “zero waste”  booth at the Chinese New Year Flower Market. A veteran event organizer, Patsy began her talk by introducing the project life cycle and the Excel worksheet which is well-known to all event organizers. She went on to explain why good planning and careful work allocation are essential for green events. Based on her own experience in organizing green events, Patsy maintained that cutting down unnecessary packaging and containers is an effective way to reduce solid waste. She encouraged stall operators to take “sell naked,  buy naked” into consideration, thereby achieving waste reduction at source.

Carbon Care Asia provides “CarbonCare® Event” packages as a solution to organisations and corporate events of various sizes, assisting them to achieve  “carbon neutrality” for their activities. Xing also introduced the concept of “carbon offset” to the participants. She suggested enterprises or organisations to estimate the event’s carbon footprint beforehand, and implement carbon reduction measures throughout event preparation. After the event, the organisers can purchase carbon credit from afforestation or renewable energy projects in order to offset the unavoidable carbon emissions to make the event carbon neutral.

In the sharing and discussion session, some participants mentioned the problem of waste treatment in organizing events; others suggested waste reduction ideas including the use of mobile apps to replace print pamphlets, reducing the packaging of event materials, recycling event props, etc. Towards the end of the seminar, participants were keen to ask questions and explore feasible waste reduction methods with the guest speakers. Moving forward, it is our hope that more event organizers are willing to plan and execute their activities with the determination to make them zero-waste and low carbon.