Whether in daily operations or at a special event, organizations are looking for more ways to implement sustainable practices and reduce the waste they create. Recently, using our expertise in materials management and waste reduction, NSF International worked with E-Reuse Services to make the 2018 Electronics Reuse Conference (ERC) in Nashville, Tennessee a waste-free event. To achieve this, we implemented several strategies that proved successful and found several key considerations and takeaways from the event.

Things to Consider

  • Work closely with the venue and vendors to set expectations on waste. Determine where waste may come from during the event and ways to combat waste production. For the ERC event, we worked with kitchen staff on food preparation, identified the placement of food and waste bins throughout the event space at the hotel, and encouraged exhibitors to bring items that could easily be repurposed or that created less waste. Several exhibitors brought items like biodegradable pens and reusable mugs as alternatives to traditional items.
  • Educate attendees before the event on the waste-free mission. Prior to arrival, let attendees know your mission for a waste-free event and instruct them to bring items that are reusable or less wasteful. Including visuals and tips in event emails and other materials can help prepare attendees.
  • Create signage and direct attendees to put waste in the correct waste bins. Once the event has begun, instruct staff to help direct where waste should be placed. This will ensure proper sorting of waste and help the cleanup process after the event ends.

The Results

With help from The Compost Company, a local Tennessee sustainable waste solutions organization, the Hilton Nashville Downtown and E-Reuse Services, a total of 2,061 pounds of waste were diverted from the landfill. The total amount of diverted waste included:

  • 1,511 pounds of materials for composting
  • 550 pounds of material for recycling

Jamie Bush, Senior Business Development Manager of Sustainability at NSF, said, “If we were able to divert this much waste from landfill over the course of just three days, imagine the impact that companies could have diverting waste over an entire year.”

What People Are Saying

“Going into ERC’s fifteenth year, we wanted 2018 to be a year of innovation. We made a number of significant additions and changes to the agenda and we added an official ERC app. It was a year of firsts right from the beginning. When NSF approached us about the idea of taking the event waste-free, it struck the perfect tone at the perfect time.” – Mike Cheslock, Co-Founder, E-Reuse Services

“It was such an honor to have the NSF International event at the Hilton Nashville Downtown. Our team was inspired by the waste-free efforts that the group made and will use the example it set to help us to continue to improve with our green programs.” – Jeff Webb, General Manager, Hilton Nashville Downtown

“NSF, the Compost Company and the team at the Hilton Nashville Downtown were spectacular to work with. Everyone was fully invested in the objective and committed to making it a success. The process was perfectly seamless, and the conference attendees and sponsors were excited to be a part of it.” – Sarah Cade, Co-Founder, E-Reuse Services