Sustainability in Event Planning: Nine Ways to Go Green

A growing global awareness of environmental concerns has encouraged many industries to realign business practices according to greener values. This holds true for event planning, which when done with sustainability in mind can help the environment, as well as improve an organization’s reputation, cost efficiency and long-term success.

According to a study published in Nature Communications, the global events industry accounts for more than 10% of global CO2 emissions annually. And, another study found that events contribute 2.5 pounds of landfill waste per person per day. These findings demonstrate why 80 percent of meeting professionals consider green initiatives when planning events. 

Sustainability is Good for Business

One in three U.S. adults say they spend more time thinking about the climate than they did before the pandemic; and 68% of highly empowered consumers report choosing brands that reduce their environmental impact, according to Forrester research.

Choosing greener practices not only engages these audiences, it can also reduce the costs of energy, water and waste management. And the good news is event planners can start small. It’s not necessary to reimagine and reorganize an entire event to have a positive impact. 

Below, we offer nine ways event organizers can incorporate more sustainable practices into event planning, while motivating partners and attendees to pass it on. 

Lollapaloza in Chicago, Illinois incorporates several sustainability initiatives into event planning
Festival planners of Lollapaloza in Chicago, Illinois strive to reduce environmental impacts of the event year after year.

1. Host Virtual, Hybrid or a Series of Satellite Events

Research by MeetGreen shows that air travel by attendees, speakers or sponsors accounts for 70% of an event’s carbon footprint. Meaning, reducing travel is one of the easiest and most significant ways to make a large environmental impact. 

If the content allows, make the event virtual, or create hybrid options to limit the need for people to travel. Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that hybrid conferences combined with the promotion of land-bound travel “could be a feasible compromise to reduce emissions by almost 90%.”

If in-person is necessary and resources allow, organizers might also consider hosting several satellite events in convenient locations across states or countries to meet audiences where they are at. 

2. Go Paperless

Embracing sustainability requires adopting innovative event technologies and practices, replacing physical needs with digital solutions. This reduces the need for paper products and can increase efficiency and effectiveness of event planning and execution.

Start with registration. Ditch paper invitations and registration forms. Instead, create a free event website and online registration form with Ticketbud’s event registration platform. Ticketbud also issues electronic tickets which can be scanned at event check-in to reduce printing needs. 

During the event, trade out traditional posters or brochures for digital visuals. Use AV to broadcast important marketing or event content, and host important speaker, sponsor or event information on an app or website. 

To help people access the materials, simply post a QR code at check-in or email instructions ahead of the event. Driving web traffic or content downloads can also capture important information about audiences and their engagement.

Click here to read Nine Cool Technologies to Help Plan Your Next Event

3. Offer Alternative Transportation

Above, we mentioned how air travel can inflict a large environmental toll. When working toward a more sustainable event, it’s important to educate attendees on the impact and provide recommendations on how to work around it. 

Whenever possible, promote eco-friendly transportation. For example, festival planners at Lollapalooza encourage event-goers to take “low-emission” routes to the festival, such as buses, bikes, or carpools. It may be economically and environmentally beneficial to partner with an e-bike or rideshare program to offer free rides or discounts to guests commuting to the event. 

Also, don’t neglect any freight and shipping involved with gathering supplies or swag for the event. When possible, opt for local vendors and scheduled pick-ups. 

encouraging the use of city bikes shows commitment to sustainability at your event

4. Find an Eco-Friendly Venue

Venues make up a large part of the event budget. To make sure it’s money sustainably spent, look for venues that have third-party sustainability certifications, such as LEED, APEX/ASTM, Green Key, or IACC Green Star. Or, ask about the location’s energy use or water or waste management practices, such as low-flow toilets or recycling.

For local events, select a centrally located venue that is accessible by public transport. If expecting out-of-town guests, choose somewhere close to an airport or train station to reduce travel. If possible, identify outdoor venue options. 

For help identifying environmentally-conscious venues, check out online directories like Book Different, Green Globe, and TripZero; or read “5 Convention Centers that are Mastering Sustainability.”

5. Choose Event Partners and Vendors who Align with Sustainability Goals

Denver’s Great American Beer Festival has a strong environmental backbone. Its sustainability program includes waste reduction, resource recovery, energy use and education. These efforts are supported by like-minded organizations featured on its website: ZeroHero, Freeman Exhibit Services, Colorado Convention Center, Centerplate Catering, and the Colorado Carbon Fund. 

Through these partnerships, the festival is able to turn a profit during its annual event while realizing large-scale environmental goals. So when looking for vendors or sponsors, lead with sustainability targets and ambitions.

Forge relationships with vendors with well-documented ESG initiatives, such as printers that utilize recycled paper products or caterers that source locally. Find vendors who are members of the Green Business Bureau, an association committed to clean transportation, waste management and other green practices. 

To get started, check out this open-sourced and vetted database of sustainable event vendors, created by Happily

6. Eat Green

Though it may come at a higher cost, a locally sourced farm-to-table menu will result in higher quality food with less impact on the environment. To further reduce the event’s impact, consider offering a plant-based meal or courses. 

The World Wildlife Fund estimates that up to 18% of global methane emissions come from livestock. So, swapping out meat for more veggie options can be a strong demonstration of dedication to hosting a sustainable event. 

And, remember that quantity is just as important as quality. According to MeetGreen, more than 20% of waste created by an event is organic material, including food and compostable serving ware. To avoid food going to waste, have guests preorder food or close registration before catering numbers are due. 

This is easy with Ticketbud’s ticket editor, which allows planners to modify and automate registration timelines and create custom questions for guests to answer when registering for the event, such as “Will you be staying for dinner?” or “Select chicken, beef or veggie.” Get started here. 

7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Of course, food waste still happens. So, come up with a plan to avoid putting it in the trash, such as partnering with a local shelter for food donations. If choosing this route, inform the event and catering staff in advance so they know to box and properly store any leftover food. 

If donation is not an option, look to the example set by the U.S. Open. Since taking on green initiatives in 2008, “Nearly 900 tons of food waste has been converted into nutrient-rich compost for gardens and farms,” including the flower beds at Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

But remember, food and compost waste is just one fifth of waste at events. To avoid sending the other 80% to the landfill, devise a plan to manage waste and educate attendees on the process and importance. If the venue does not offer recycling or composting, contract out the services. A vendor can provide bins, signage and removal services. Extra staff or volunteers may be required to help collect, sort and encourage attendees to dispose of waste in the proper manner.

how to sustainably get rid of waste at your event

8. Get Event Attendees Involved with Sustainability Initiatives

Hosting a sustainable event goes beyond event day and considers its lasting impact. So, how can an organization motivate attendees to carry the mission forward? 

Start with education. Make clear in event marketing and messaging why the organization is taking action and the impact it hopes to make. The more people understand the why, the more likely they are to act. This will encourage them to be more compliant during the event and may inspire them to be more sustainability conscious after the event. 

Some organizations may choose to incorporate volunteer projects within the event itself, giving attendees an opportunity to get hands-on with the mission and efforts. Or, they may direct attendees to their social media pages or newsletters, where they post local initiatives or projects with volunteer opportunities. 

If welcoming travelers to the event, create a welcome packet and email a recommendation list of businesses or restaurants that support sustainable initiatives. Or, encourage attendees to help the organization offset event emissions by participating in a donation program which contributes to achieving carbon zero or other green initiatives.

Using Ticketbud’s ticket editor, event organizers can create a separate fundraising line to accept online donations directly from the registration page. Learn more about how to add various ticketing options such as donations on Ticketbud.

9. Start Early and Hold Yourself Accountable

From the early stages of the event planning process, design with green in mind. Include sustainability goals alongside all event KPIs and lay out a timeline of objectives and tasks that will help achieve it. 

Utilize online tools, such as SAM or Sustain.Life, to determine the carbon footprint of the event and identify areas that can be improved: energy efficiency, waste reduction, transportation, etc. Then, share these projections and goals with potential attendees and partners to encourage participation and support. 

After the event, put together an impact report to compare goals and results. Distribute the findings to partners and attendees to communicate the impact and show gratitude for their participation and contributions. This demonstrates that the organization is dedicated to the cause and fostering supportive relationships around it. It could also be the reason a person purchases a ticket or a sponsor contributes more funding to a future event. 

In sum, incorporating sustainability initiatives into event planning demonstrates social responsibility and may attract new attendees, clients, and partners whose values align. It shows that the organization is concerned not only with profits but with the well-being of the community and the planet. It’s good for the brand, and it feels good to know an event can create both lasting memories and a meaningful impact.

Best of Texas Event Vendors

Events reflect the reputation of the organizers. Partnering with reputable event vendors helps protect your reputation, reduces the planning stress and limits the risk of encountering unexpected issues, such as last-minute cancellations or subpar services. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top Texas Event Vendors, based on reviews and event organizer feedback.

Trusted vendors have a proven track record of delivering high-quality, professional products and services on time. Their experienced staff can bring a wealth of knowledge to developing the intricacies of your event, and their communication and reliability is crucial for ensuring that all aspects of your event run smoothly.

To help kickstart your event planning journey, check out our Best of Texas Event Vendors list, which includes:

Create your event website today at

Texas Event Planners

Fauxcades (Dallas) 
Offering a full service event design, custom fabrication, production and rentals, Fauxcades focuses on the experiential aspect of every event. In addition to helping with your planning needs, their services include graphic design and print shop, paint, carpentry, welding, lighting and sculpture studios. The team was awarded the silver award for Best of DFW Event Planners in 2021 by the Dallas Morning News.

Red Velvet Events (Austin)
For more than 20 years, event planners at Red Velvet Events have focused on their mission to “create compelling human connections through insight, design and collaboration for brands on the cusp of disruption.” The full service industry specializes in a strategic, collaborative planning process and has been recognized through 25 international event awards. 


ProGraphix (Austin)
ProGraphix is a woman-owned, eco-conscious print shop established in 2002. From design to delivery and installation, their team can help with any print project for your event, be it invitations, brochures, postures, directional signs, window decals or murals.

Minuteman Press (National)
Minuteman Press International has been rated the #1 Printing Franchise in the printing industry by Entrepreneur Magazine more than 30 times. The national chain of print shops offers a wide variety of services, including small paper prints or posters to unique swag or branded food items. 

AV/Tech Support

ATX Event Systems (Austin) 
ATX Event Systems is a full service audio visual company specializing in conferencing, brand activations, concert production and installation. Plus, the company has several studio spaces to host your in-person or online event, as well as a staffing arm to relief in areas beyond technical support, such as food and beverage services, janitorial and security.

Karana Audio Visual (Houston)
Established in Houston in 2015, Karana Audio Visual was built by two musicians with an in-depth understanding of the technical needs of putting together a successful event. They offer a full suite of event production services, including lighting, live streaming, audio, video, as well as video production. The company has garnered an Award for Excellence from the Better Business Bureau. 


Bennett Creative (Austin)
Whether you need a conference opener video, a highlight reel, or anything in between, Bennett Creative has got you covered. The Austin-based team provides a bounty of event services, including photography, livestreaming, capturing b-roll, multi-camera set-ups, interviews and timelapses. Beyond event work, Bennett Creative is a great asset to any marketing team looking to bring life to their strategies.

Saturn Photography (Austin) 
With more than 300 5-star reviews, Saturn Photography can help your guests relive your event in high–resolution in the days and weeks after the event. The company’s online gallery system makes it easy to share images with guests to view, download and print, with no watermarks included. Their services also include video production for private and corporate projects. 

DTX Media (Dallas/ Fort Worth)
Though located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the team at DTX Media will travel across Texas and Oklahoma to capture photos and video of your next commercial or corporate event. Their services include photo booths and event photography to drone footage and video production for any size of event. 


Glory House (Irving) 
Whether you’re looking for pick-up catering, a full-service reception or to host an intimate bistro gathering, Glory House is a go-to vendor for corporate and private on or off-site events. The company has served the DFW metroplex for more than 20 years, earning the title of Best in Irving Caterer every year since 2011. 

The Heights Catering (Houston) 
Completely customize your event day menu with The Heights Catering, serving clients in Houston and surrounding areas. The Heights chefs offer a versatile menu, including African, Asian, British, Middle Eastern and American. The business also offers service from food trucks to bring a unique flair to your next event. 

la Barbeque Food Truck (Austin) 
Bring a local Austin vibe to your next event with a BBQ food truck. The female–owned and operated food truck la Barbeque is an Austin staple, consistently appearing on the city’s best BBQ lists. Invite them to your next event to dish up some delicious, locally sourced beef cooked low and slow for 8 hours for that melt-in-your-mouth goodness. 

Texas Event Staffing/Security

5 Star Event Services (Houston, Austin, San Antonio)
Established in 2000, 5 Star Event Services has provided security officers, ushers, ticket takers and event staff personnel at more than 41,000 events throughout the surrounding areas of Houston, Austin, San Antonio. Their teams are trained in customer service and have undergone background checks to ensure a positive and safe experience at each event. 

Trinity Event Staffing 
Rated as a top staffing company in the DFW area, Trinity Event Staffing can cover any of your personnel needs for small private events or large seated dinners or conferences. Easily assemble a food service team, brand ambassadors, or extra security staff to help ensure no one staff member feels too much pressure during your event. 

Texas Event Rentals and Decor

Marquee Event Rentals (Austin, Dallas, Houston)
Marquee Event Rentals serves any size of event across Southern and Midwestern markets. The company, which recently culminated from six separate vendors, touts the largest inventory of event rentals in the industry, including tables, tents, china, linens, kitchen and serving appliances, crowd and climate control equipment, lighting and more.

Loot Rentals (Austin)
Looking for a unique, curated look at your next event? Look no further than Loot Rentals, a boutique event rental company serving Austin and North Texas. The company’s rental catalog includes bars and tables, dining sets, seating, outdoor furnishings, decor, vintage items and more.  


Texas Entertainment Group (Dallas, Houston)
No matter the fun you’re hoping to add to your event, Texas Entertainment Group is there to help. Their team will work with you to determine what entertainers, extreme sports, or inflatable games might enhance the experience at your next corporate, school, or community event.

If you’re looking to hire an entertainer for your next event, check out GigSalad. The nationwide talent search database will help identify an extensive list of potential musicians, DJs, speakers and entertainers to suit your event needs and budget. 

Texas Venues – Austin

The Sky Lounge on Lady Bird Lake (capacity 35-150)
Located in the heart of downtown, The Sky Lounge on Ladybird promises astounding views of the city and Ladybird lake, as well as convenient access to many popular downtown attractions. Whether you’re hosting a small holiday gathering or a larger community function, the venue offers additional amenities, such as bar and catering services, staging and sound systems, as well as convenient parking and security. 

The Austin Convention Center (capacity 7,000+) 
The Austin Convention Center has a bounty of space and resources, and is equipped to handle any of your technological, catering, and security needs. The venue is homebase for many massive events, including the annual SXSW festival, but can also host much smaller events within its 50+ meeting rooms.

Texas Venues – Dallas

Texas Ale Project (capacity 28-600)
Give your guests a local experience by hosting your next event at one of Dallas’s hometown breweries. The Texas Ale Project has a variety of unique event spaces to host anywhere from 28 to 600 guests. The biggest benefit of the venue? The drinks, of course, as well as its AV, catering, wifi and parking amenities. 

Southfork Ranch (capacity 2,000)
Nestled on 300 acres of groomed ranch land, Southfork Ranch gives event organizers plenty of room to spread out for large events, or scale down for small gatherings within its private meeting spaces. The venue, which was made famous for its appearance on the TV show “Dallas,” is the perfect place to blend boots and business and has staff onsite to help with your next event. 

Texas Venues – Houston

Ronin Art House (capacity 50-150)
Hundreds of Google reviews reiterate the same sentiment: If you want to host an intimate event in a unique and beautiful space, look no further than Ronin Art House. Event organizers can choose from three venue spaces based on the size and vibe of the event. Each space is architecturally designed to play with angles and light to present a new definition of industrial chic. The venue is willing to work with any outside vendor or caterer.

Asia Society Texas (capacity 1,360)
The stunning cultural center, designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi, is consistently recognized with Houston’s Design Award for its elegant blend of Japanese and Western the design. The inviting atmosphere hosts five indoor and outdoor event spaces, or planners can choose to rent out the entire building. 

Keep in mind that the event industry is dynamic, and event vendors may change over time. It’s crucial to research and contact event vendors directly to inquire about their current services and pricing for your specific event needs. Additionally, reading reviews and getting recommendations from event planners, venues, or other trusted sources will help inform decisions when selecting vendor partners for your next event.