Conference Attendee Disappointed in Wasteful Meals
By Amy_Urquhart on July 30, 2008
I thought long and hard before writing this little post, because I had such a fantastic time at the conference in San Francisco this year. I have just one little complaint to make, and I know that at the very least, the conference attendees who sat with me at lunchtime will agree, since the topic came up while we ate.
I am very proud of BlogHer for the attempts that were made to reduce consumption of paper, and to partner up with sponsors who were focused on environmentally friendly products and services. For an organization that made so many attempts to "go green", I found it sad that the lunches that were provided were served in plastic containers. Perhaps the system is different in California (and please, someone correct me if I'm wrong), but where I live the kind of plastic that was used is not recyclable.
The meals were served in large, plastic compartmentalized containers. The cutlery was also plastic, as were all of the soft drink and water containers served. Because attendees had little choice as to which foods they would like to eat, as well as the quantities they could eat, I saw an awful lot of food get thrown away. The employees at the Westin St. Francis were collecting this plastic and food waste and throwing it right into black garbage bags (along with my glasses, which is another story altogether...).
I realize that there are limitations in the planning of large events and conferences when it comes to the catering arrangements that can be made by organizers. Many venues offer a limited variety of products to their clients. I also understand that organizers were doing their best to keep the costs down for those of us who were able to attend.
However, I couldn't help wondering if serving food in disposable plastic was the best choice given the environmental focus of the event. A buffet would have been a "greener" option.