Green Baby Steps at BlogHer '09

Some of my favorite green bloggers were on the green team for BlogHer this year in an attempt to 'green up' the conference a bit.  BlogHer is a mighty big conference (over 1400 attendees I believe) and I can't imagine how hard it must be to organize the thing, much less worry about the environmental impact.  Kudos to BlogHer management for listening to the green team and putting some smart green initiatives in place this year!

Still, many of us thought there was room for improvement, primarily on the part of the sponsors.  It was hard not to be dismayed by the huge amount of waste generated by the endless stream of sponsor-provided drinks, snacks and SWAG at the conference.  Clearly sponsors make the world go round (couldn't have the conference w/out 'em!) but perhaps there's a way to do it with less waste.  Clearly bloggers love free stuff (hey - I'm right there with you!) but perhaps we should be more mindful about what we take and what we refuse.

Here are a few examples:

Pepsi (BlogHer's primary sponsor) did NOT bring bottled water BUT they still gave away A TON of other drinks in plastic bottles.

All participants were provided with a BPA-free water bottle BUT most people used plastic cups at the water stations.

The conference brochure was available digitally BUT there was still a heck of a lot of paper trading hands.

The conference swag bag was made from recycled materials BUT there was a plastic Mrs. Potato head inside (which admittedly I took home to my 4 year old and I truly wish I hadn't.)

There was a place to donate and swap SWAG BUT the swag-mania still left many conference-goers with a bad taste in their mouth.

A part of me says Hey - who are you to try to change the world?  This is BlogHer, not GreenHer.  Yet there's still this desire to educate and influence, even if it's just one baby step at a time.  What do you think?  Should we expect a mainstream conference to really go green?  What other baby steps could be taken to make a conference like this more sustainable? 

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