How to Make Your Meeting Menu More Sustainable

Switching to reusable plates and local vendors is not enough to satisfy the growing group of environmentally conscious attendees.

The buzz around sustainability in the events industry has taken off, led in part by the flight shaming movement. But transportation is just one of many factors that contribute to the environmental impact of an event.

According to MeetGreen, a sustainable conference management agency, the average conference attendee produces more than four pounds of waste per day. Menu modifications are a simple, but significant step planners can take towards sustainability. 

"Food brings people together, so it's a great place to start the sustainability conversation," said Jacqueline Tran, energy and sustainability manager of the Javits Center in New York City.

Ditching plastic plates and replacing meats with plant-based options are great first steps. But there are other, lesser-known actions meeting planners should also consider implementing at their events. According to Eric Wallinger, director of sustainability at MeetGreen, the time to go all in on sustainability is now.

"In the age of mega fires and climate accountability, having a more carbon-friendly food-and-beverage strategy is increasingly important. The connections between what we're doing, what we're consuming and how we're treating the earth are a lot more front and center than ever before," said Wallinger. "Events are kind of a window into a company's values and the menu is one of those central nexus points where a lot of different elements of events sustainability come together; it intersects with procurement, waste management and packaging." 

Read the full story on for five unique ways to cut waste out of your food-and-beverage program.