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Special events are going 'green'

Along with memories, special events produce trash--just as durable, but decidedly undesirable. Yet special events are increasingly taking advantage of "green" innovations--techniques devised to avoid some of the potentially harmful effects that events have on the environment.

Last year Ruth Culver launched London-based Green Weddings, a wedding planning company that puts an environmentally friendly spin on nuptial traditions for like-minded brides. For example, she gives guests dried rose petals--which decompose into mulch--to toss rather than confetti, which she says creates more trash.

Recycling trash is not just a land-use issue but a global warming issue as well. The Los Angeles Times reports that recycling half of the aluminum, glass, plastic and paper that each consumer uses will reduce greenhouse emissions more than driving 15 fewer miles each week.

The Metro Toronto Convention Center, located in downtown Toronto, produced a true first last year: an event with virtually no byproducts. The Construct Canada show, held last year, used a mixture of marketing, product restrictions and education to divert 26 metric tons of material from the landfill.

Amy Spatrisano, principal at Portland, Ore.-based Meeting Strategies Worldwide, helps clients reduce waste and conserve energy at their meetings. "Greening meetings is a proactive approach, as opposed to a reactive approach," she says. "It is necessary to take these steps at meeting and events now."

For the complete story, see the August issue of Special Events Magazine.

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