Thursday, October 8, 2009

Where to get rid of leftover event stuff?

What to do with all that left-over event and exhibit stuff? Even before this age of recycling and reusing, I always felt it was a shame to see leftover decor in the trash or even the recycle bin (although that's sometimes o.k). I spend a lot of time finding things for my events for TeamBuilding Unlimited at fleamarkets and in the dumpster. Yes, the dumpster.

Terri Hardin had an article in on just this topic, and she offers many ideas for what to do with your left-overs. I have a few more suggestions. I welcome comments.

First, many charities accept donations.

Food: In the Bay Area, Project Open Hand, the Alameda Food Bank, and several other organizations welcome your uneaten portion of food & beverage. Be sure and contact these groups before your event, so there will be a smooth transition. Some places will not accept food, and you need to know that in advance. You might have to assign one of your staff to take the food there, but if you have a lot, some of the organizations will pick up.

Exhibit floor displays and furniture: Many non-profit and not-for-profit organizations like schools and churches accept tables and chairs. In Oakland, the Oakland Museum's White Elephant sale organization will accept donations and for large items can schedule a pick-up. You can also ask the meeting venue or the local CVB (convention & visitors bureau) for a list of charitable organizations.

Leftover Decor. If you're like me, you don't have anywhere to store most of this, even though you're 'sure' that you'll reuse it within the next 10 years. If you have the time or staff, you can try selling it on eBay or Craiglist but here's a useful site for Event Planners: Make sure you can arrange this in your area.

Florals: Hopefully your florist has taken these away and will reuse them. Maybe the attendees took them home? But if not, check with the venue about their composting policy. If you have a lot of plant material, contact a local composter. Again, the venue or CVB should have a list.

We at TeamBuilding Unlimited have several Green TeamBuilding Events in which we use recycled materials, so feel free to contact us with your leftover goods. Our motto is Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose, Recharge. Have a look at our Green Art Challenge and New Green Product Invention.

So before you throw away all those leftovers from your event, check out your options for recycling and reusing.

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