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5 Ways to Reduce Paper Usage at Events

Updated: Oct 6, 2018

Singapore is seen as one of several global hubs where people from all types of fields come together to explore new ideas and connect through an assortment of events. These may be conventions, seminar and conferences or even perhaps general parties. Most of these events and event goers proclaim their character through programme schedules, flyers, and posters. However, these all generally have one thing in common: paper. Volumes of flyers and programmes are printed and after each event, end up unused or in the trash. What a waste! There are more accessible methods to recycle and reduce the overall usage of paper, especially since a majority of people are becoming more invested in their portable gadgets.

1. Displaying the schedule programmes at selected locations instead of individually handing it out.

An obvious way for the event planners to reduce paper is to print a very limited amount of programmes and showcase these at major traffic points at an event. This would allow for event goers to easily access the programmes instead of individually being handed one to which they may just dispose of after the event. At the end of the event, the event planners will have more control over these leftovers and thus be able to recycle them in an appropriate and effective manner.

BEX Asia 2017, Coffee festival 2017 and City Solutions 2018 that display boards at the entrance with the schedule of presentations and speakers. Programme leaflets and flyers that are left over after the event get trashed as the information becomes irrelevant.

2. Sending flyers and programmes to attendees email and/ or ask attendees to view through an app or website.

Alternatively, a more modern and effective approach is to utilise technology! Technology is so prevalent that it would be rare to find someone who is not connected to the internet. Send event attendees schedule programmes to their gadgets so they can be viewed at anytime. Electronic flyers can also be sent to the attendees device which would reduce the amount of paper tremendously.

An app for scanning namecards on Android and iPhone.

3. Avoid handing business cards and instead collect an attendee’s email information so the details of the business can be sent through this paperless platform.

Although it may appear to be a minor paper usage aspect of events, people are constantly being handed business card as an easy means to provide contact details to each other. But considering that there could be thousands of people at an event at any time and people networking with multiple people, the numbers really do add up. A more efficient method of providing people with contact details (like their phone numbers or emails) is to collect attendees first on paper or an electronic spreadsheet and then sending out the details at once. Try ScanBizCards available on both Google Play and Apple Store for SGD3.00.

4. Posters can be printed on FSC certified paper.

People often like to advertise their stall or ideas through the use of posters. These posters are often large and are only able to be used once. To minimise waste from paper usage, event goers can source their paper from eco-friendly companies which offer FSC certified recycled paper. This is an simple method of becoming more sustainably conscious. Check out the Directory for a list of Printers in Singapore that provide FSC certified paper options.

5. Collecting unwanted name tags at the end of events and recycling the paper and plastic.

It is important at company and networking events for everyone to have an idea of who is who… that is the point of these events! The most commonly implemented method is through lanyards with plastic encased badges. The problem with this is that after the event, many people would not use these products again and they are just disposed of! It is a waste of paper AND plastic. An obvious way to alleviate this issue is to collect unwanted name tags. This way, plastic cases can be reused and the paper can be recycled! For annual events, refrain from printing sponsors and the year on lanyards, so they can be used the following year.

Responsible Business Forum by Global initiatives, an annual conference, collects back badges every year and re-uses the lanyards (left). An excess of lanyards at a tech event (right).

With the amount of increasing events occurring in Singapore, there is an increased potential for paper usage. However, this is also a number of promising approaches to mediate this problem, especially with the more popular use of technology. By encouraging the use of phones or tablets to obtain event information or just being smart about using paper, the use of paper can be minimised. xhebit provides other instances of how paper is such a problem at events and how its usage can be reduced!

Check out how technology can be used to green events here.

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