Going Green at BlogHer '10

BlogHer Original Post

At this year's BlogHer conference, we are proud to showcase the steps we have taken to further green our event. Past efforts are being recycled, but we have taken new steps and hope you will find we are working to improve our Green Initiatives with each conference. Read on for the details:

VENUE

BlogHer takes a proactive approach when selecting a host venue, ensuring they have strong sustainability practices and that they continually work to improve their impact on the planet. This year was no exception. The Hilton New York has a strong sustainability policy and continues to find ways to be a strong corporate citizen in New York City. Here are some additional items that are not on their website:

  • To reduce landfill waste, we utilize a state-of-the art organic waste decomposition system. Every day it breaks down up to 1,200 pounds of wet garbage.
  • We saved approximately 650,000 plastic key cards from clogging landfills annually by switching to biodegradable cards, which break down in as little as nine months.
  • Every day we keep approximately 12,000 disposable glass and plastic bottles from the landfill. All of the water served in our restaurants and in room dining is purified on-site into re-usable glass bottles.
  • We also donate food from our banqueting operations to City Harvest, a non-profit organization that provides meals to New Yorkers in need.
  • Our guests even have the option of making an impact. We implemented a linen and towel reuse program, along with an "opt in" program that allows guests to "opt out" of housekeeping services during their stay.
  • 90 percent of all light bulbs at the hotel are energy efficient. Meeting rooms have motion-activated lights. Our newly transformed Mercury Ballroom rotunda features eco-friendly LED lighting, which delivers greater efficiency and better appeal.
  • We outsource our laundry to a company that uses state-of-the-art energy and water-efficient washing machines.
  • We eliminated Styrofoam; use recycled content copy paper; and replaced small glass condiment jars in the banqueting department with more eco-friendly serving containers.

GREEN TEAM

Once again, we enlisted the community to help BlogHer go green, or at least become a little darker green than years past. With the help of our liaison, Sommer Poquette, and the other members of the Team, we were able to once again provide guidance to BlogHer sponsors -- and of course we learned a little something along the way.

Last year, PepsiCo enlisted the help of the Team to get their feedback on all things bottled, and this year Future Friendly called on the Team to direct and guide them on how to be better prepared in the Swag Exchange, the onsite location where attendees can exchange swag items instead of leaving them behind.

Thank you again, Green Team:

ONLINE CONFERENCE GUIDE

As in years past, we have once again created an online-only conference guide. This is a comprehensive guide to all things BlogHer '10 while onsite. We encourage attendees to review this guide and only print pages that are critical to a successful event experience. PS: There will be a map and abbreviated agenda onsite for attendees too!

THE SWAG EXCHANGE

With the help of our sponsor, Future Friendly, all unused/unwanted swag will be collected and donated to the Salvation Army in New York City. The Swag Exchange will remain open throughout the conference, on level 2 in the Gibson Suite. Stop by and perhaps exchange an item or two.

WATER

Once again, we will have a conference that is free of bottled water –- but do not fret, as we will have water stations set in the back of every session room and in various locations throughout the venue including the exposition halls. In addition, Filtrete will be providing water bottles in the tote and PUR will be onsite with water stations –- and of course, you can bring your own water bottle if you prefer.

MEALS

Every year, we make a concerted effort to only order the amount of food we believe will be consumed to avoid waste. In the past, we have not always been allowed to donate food -- but this year, with the help of the Hilton and their sustainability efforts, we are able to donate any/all eligible food to City Harvest, a local nonprofit helping New Yorkers in need.

TOTE BAGS AND LANYARDS

This year's tote bag sponsor,Gettington.com, has generously supplied us with eco-friendly, fair-trade bags from Freeset handmade by women in India in search of a better life. A little about Freeset:

Human trafficking and poverty feed India's sex trade, where women and children forced into prostitution face a life without choices, marginalized by society. Freeset is a bag and t-shirt manufacturing business whose purpose is to provide these women with a way out of prostitution. Women are employed on the basis of their need for a job, not the skills they bring to it. They are trained, paid a good wage and signed up to a health insurance plan and pension fund. Best of all they begin their journey to freedom.

Our lanyard, sponsored by General Motors, is also made from reusable, recycled material.

RECYCLING RECEPTACLES

In addition to their other sustainability practices, the Hilton has a strong recycling program in place, and you will see many recycle bins around the conference. Before you throw something away, please consider whether it is something that can be recycled.

HOTEL TOWELS AND BED LINENS

The Hilton New York has a linen reuse program. Follow instructions on the signage in your room to let the cleaning staff know that you don't need your linens or towels laundered and replaced every day of your stay.

ELECTRONICS

Whenever possible, unplug your electronics instead of just setting them to “standby.” According to the Department of Energy, up to 20% of each American’s electricity bill comes from appliances and gadgets sitting on standby.

BYO REUSABLES

Just like last year, BlogHer is encouraging attendees to bring their own reusable ____. Bring your own refillable water bottle, your own utensils, and your own travel mug for coffee and tea -- you fill in the blank!

UTENSILS

This year, we are doing something new: We are using disposable servingware during all of our meals. These products are made by NatureWorks entirely from PLA (corn) plastic and are completely compostable. NatureWorks Ingeo PLA resin, which is an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic, requires 68% fewer fossil fuel resources to produce versus the traditional petroleum plastic.

These biodegradable cups are clear and made from an annually renewable resource: CORN! With the same look and feel as clear plastic cups, our compostable corn cups are made from U.S.-grown corn!

  • Made from corn
  • Non-allergenic
  • Biodegradable
  • 100% Compostable
  • Colorless
  • Composts back to organic elements in 45 - 60 days in a commercial facility

These are the steps we have taken. Please consider all the ways you can help us reduce, reuse and recycle!

Recent Posts by Lori Luna

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