A Greener BlogHer '09: Did you notice the eco-changes?
Did you notice that Blogher '09 was greener than ever this year? The Green Team put in a lot of work to ecofy the conference, despite the constraints of the event being in a huge hotel (the Sheraton's actually a part of the Chicago Green Hotels Initiative (PDF), though if the hotel's seriously interested in going green, the Green Team could make a lot of helpful suggestions!).
And thanks to the growing green marketplace, many of the sponsors too were drawing attention to their greener products (or at least the greenish features of their not-that-green products) -- which meant recycled reusable bags, organic lip balm, and other green or green-tinted shwag.
Of course, Bloghers aren't ones to rest on their green laurels -- especially not the Green Team members themselves! Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish (with me, above) -- who's both a Blogher contributing editor and a member of the Green Team -- bemoaned all the other good green things that could have been but were not. Thus -- Here's my short list of green successes this year -- plus some ideas for how to improve next year -- and a request for your own ideas:
1. Reusable bags
Pro: The recycled and reusable bags from Blue Avocado were not only cute and green, but also minimizable into a little ball for easy totability! Bloghers will never forget their reusable bags again because they'll always have these smaller-than-an-avocado bags in their purses!
Con: If you're like me, you somehow got home with 5 -- yes 5 -- reusable bags. I already had enough reusable bags! Every sponsor likes to give a branded bag out -- but I wonder if there's a way to discourage this practice while still giving sponsors the opportunity to promote their wares.
When a bag full of stuff's handed to me, I not only gain a bag I don't need, but I'm also forced to take on some stuff in the bag that I don't want (at least until I go by the shwag recycling room) because I'm not gonna go through the thing right there and pick stuff out.... I also think people are less likely to say no to the bag full of stuff even if none of the stuff's anything they want. Since we don't know what's in the bags, we're more likely to just take the bag and discover the duds later.... Does anyone have a suggestion for this overbagging, overshwagging problem?
2. Reusable water bottles.
Pro: Blogher '09 was almost completely free of disposable bottled water! And all Bloghers had reusable water bottles to take advantage of the water stations throughout the conference halls.
Con: I didn't actually see many people using these reusable water bottles. In fact, I shared a table with some women from Ketchum during lunch on Saturday -- and they were discussing how they couldn't find the water stations! The stations were actually plentiful -- but often sort of hidden in the back of the rooms so some people didn't see them. That, combined with the fact that each water station had huge stacks of disposable plastic cups next to them, not to mention the fact that sponsors were giving out soda and juice-type drinks everywhere you turned -- meant the reusable water bottles didn't get as much use as I hoped.
How can we encourage reusable bottle use AND make the filtered water station more noticeable in the future? While we're at it, is it possible to encourage reusable cup or bottle use at the cocktail parties too? I know that washing dishes for thousands of people isn't easy, but we did get reusable flatware, glasses, and plates for the meals, which makes me think we can get reusables for the parties too....
What did you think of the greening efforts at Blogher? What went well? What can we do better? Give the BlogHer community your constructive two cents on greening BlogHer '10! I'd love to hear from my fellow Green Leadership Panelists -- Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse, Jennifer Taggart of the Smart Mama, Sommer Poquette of Green and Clean Mom -- and all the green bloggers I saw at the conference, including Amy Gates at Crunchy Domestic Goddess, Lynn Anne Miller from Organic Mania and Jennae Petersen of Green Your Decor, Kim Wright of Kelphugger, the See Jane Do girls, Gina Rau of Change Becomes Change, Katherine S. Gray of Dirt to Dish, Bronx Bohemian, Micaela of Mindful Momma, Molly of Virtual Farmgirl, Jen of Puddle Jumping in DC, and Wren of Wrenaissance Reflections.
Other green bloggers at BlogHer '09 I didn't get to meet: Please opine too -- and link us to your blog so we can start reading along --
BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel is suffering from mild post BlogHer '09 depression and can't wait until BlogHer '10. She also blogs at greenLAgirl.com.