On April 22, 2019, people, properties and organizations across the globe will celebrate the 49th annual Earth Day in what has become an annual rite of spring. It’s a good time to give examples of what one property, Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa in Monterey, California, is doing to celebrate the day and all year long and share the hotel’s 11 recommended steps to reduce the environmental impact of a gathering.
In honor of Earth Day, the property is giving out “Plant Your Pencil” to the first 100 guests who check in on April 22. The pencils come in five different herb varieties including basil, cilantro, parsley, cherry tomatoes and mint! Wouldn’t that be a fun trade show booth or item to share during a meeting?
Also on April 22, the hotel’s Fireplace Lounge will go dim from 7 to 10 p.m. to save electricity, and there will be an acoustic guitar player to entertain guests. Menu specials will feature locally grown and organic ingredients, plus the hotel plans to offer Twisted Roots wine by the glass. Based in nearby Carmel Valley, Twisted Roots is a certified green grower and producer of sustainable wines.
Throughout the year, Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa participates in naturalist-led beach clean-ups and shuts the lights off in all unoccupied rooms and employees volunteer for dozens of local green initiatives.
The hotel also has an ongoing commitment to help planners present green meetings and events and recommends these steps:
1. Plan ahead. Surprises are lots of fun, but not for meetings. Provide your hotel with meeting information and event orders at least 10 days in advance to reduce the use of last-minute resources.
2. Please recycle. Commit to using the recycling bins provided by your hotel at all functions, meetings, offices and guest rooms. Recycling services vary by property.
3. Print local. It's better to print it there than bring it there. It's even better to print on recycled paper.
4. Ship less. Shipping meeting materials wastes fuel, paper, plastic, energy and water. So, no more than one pallet of materials can be shipped to Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa for every 100 rooms occupied and no more than a half pallet going home.
5. Take only what you need. Rather than handing out pens and notepads, place all meeting materials in a central location so meeting attendees can take only what they need and want.
6. Ban the bottle. Drinking lots of water is good, but not from plastic bottles. Instead, use reusable bottles and refill at conveniently located filtered water stations.
7. Waste not. Eliminate the use of other disposable products at meetings. Exceptions can be made for boxed meals and poolside service.
8. Set reasonable meeting temperatures. Set the meeting room temperature at an agreed-upon number and keep it there. Not too hot, not too cool, but just right.
9. Eat local. Don't think of it as just a meeting, think of it as a chance to sample the local flavor. Book hotels that have seasonal banquet menus featuring locally grown and sourced products.
10. Use recycled products. Your ideas will look just as smart on 100 percent recycled paper. Other items, such as menus and pens, also should have at least some recycled material.
11. Use linen-less tables. More and more hotels and venues have tables that do not need linens or if renting, see what your rental company can provide. Utilize this sleek furniture and focus on table décor instead, perhaps rent live plants or purchase them and give to attendees who are driving to and from the meeting.
We would love to hear about additional ideas for green meetings and events to keep the conversation going! Happy Earth Day!