How BlogHer ’09 is Going Green

BlogHer Original Post

At BlogHer ’09, you’ll likely notice our Green Initiatives – policies we’ve enacted to help make our conference more sustainable. We’re proud of the ways BlogHer sponsors and the BlogHer community are making a difference, and wanted to highlight specific examples of our efforts to create a more eco-friendly conference.

Last year, we offered a recycling room, launched a full-scale online conference guide, and our tote bags were made from organic cotton. We increased the number of recycling receptacles and encouraged attendees to bring reusable utensils, to power down completely when electronics weren’t in use, and to forego daily-refreshed linens and towels. Sponsors provided hybrid vehicles for carpooling and handed out reusable water bottles. One sponsor even handled off-setting the carbon footprint for the entire conference!

This year, we’re excited to announce that our past efforts are being recycled again this year – and that we’re pushing the envelope even further! Read on for a complete list of Green Initiatives at BlogHer ’09:

  • Green Team – We created a Green Team to help advise BlogHer and our sponsors about new steps, big and small, that BlogHer can take to become more green. We shared their ideas with our sponsors, many of which were eager to understand what is important to the BlogHer community. Pepsi invited the BlogHer ’09 Green Team into a private conversation to discuss environmental concerns, and altered their sponsor giveaways based on that discussion. Other sponsors also took the Green Team’s suggestions to heart, and you’ll see that reflected through the various swag and giveaways at the conference.
  • Online Conference Guide – It would take a lot of paper to print our full BlogHer ‘09 conference guide for 1400 attendees, so this year (like last year!), we’re making it available online only. There will be a map and abbreviated agenda onsite for attendees.
  • Recycling Suite – BlogHer will ensure that all unused/unwanted swag will be recycled properly, or donated to organizations that can use the products. The Recycling Suite will remain open throughout the conference, making it a convenient stopping point once you determine what all will fit in your suitcase.
  • Carbon Offsetting – Michelin, for the second year in a row, is offsetting more than 200 tons of CO2, which is enough to offset travel, accommodations and three days of venue operations for more than 1400 attendees. WOW!
  • Water – For the first time, BlogHer is providing water throughout the entire conference from refillable cisterns, and the Gilbert Guide has provided reusable, BPA-free water bottles in every swag bag. This will help cut down on disposable water bottles waste.
  • Meals – The city of Chicago does not allow leftover food to be donated to shelters, etc.; however, all untouched food will be donated to all levels of Sheraton staff to enjoy and bring home to their families. BlogHer will be offering buffets, silverware and cloth napkins at meals, to help reduce waste. Additionally, Pepsi has arranged for a charitable organization to pick up all of their leftover (sealed) food samples.
  • Tote bags and Lanyards – Conference tote bags (provided by Blue Avocado) and lanyards at BlogHer ’09 are made from reusable, recycled material!
  • Recycling receptacles – The Sheraton Chicago has a recycling program in place, which BlogHer is delighted to conform to. Additionally, Pepsi is providing even more recycling receptacles for our use. Before you throw something away, please consider whether it is something that can be recycled.
  • Hotel Reader Boards – Outside each meeting room at the Sheraton Chicago are electronic reader boards, which will list each session taking place in its respective meeting room. Using these reader boards has helped BlogHer significantly cut down on waste created by printed signage.
  • Hotel Towels and Bed Linens – The Sheraton Chicago 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.
  • Hotel Bath Products – USED: If you use the amenities provided by the hotel, any unused portions will be donated by the Sheraton to local shelters. UNUSED: If you choose not to use the amenities provided by the hotel, bring the unopened bottles and soaps to the registration desk, where Veronica and Kim will gather them to donate to Deborah’s Place, a women’s shelter in Chicago.
  • Electronics – Instead of just setting your electronics to “standby” or turning them off, take the extra step to unplug them when they’re finished charging. This will help prevent energy waste at the conference.
  • BYO Reusables – Just like last year, BlogHer is encouraging attendees to bring their own reusable ____. Bring your own refillable water bottle, your own utensils, your own travel mug for coffee and tea -- you fill in the blank!
  • GM Rideshare – Once again, BlogHer and GM have partnered to offer carpooling to attendees driving to the conference. This is a great way to make new friends, travel in an environmentally friendly way, and help reduce energy use and emissions.

We’d love your help making our fifth annual conference as green as possible, so please consider all the ways you can help us reduce, reuse and recycle!

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