Many Chasing Coral hosts have asked how to reduce the environmental impact of their screening so they’re also walking the walk when it comes to putting more sustainable choices into practice.

To answer this call, we’ve compiled a guide full of ideas to make your event both fun, environmentally friendly and hopefully inspire some of your guests along the way!

For our sustainable screening-in-a-box, check out our Amazon shopping list for a curated set of sustainable products to get started.

Choosing a venue

Location, Location, Location. A venue that is central and accessible to a wide range of people can help minimize the amount of carbon emissions guests will expend traveling to the screening, and encourage a higher turn-out! Plus, close locations might make guests more inclined to walk, bike, or use of public transport to get there, which can help lower the event’s carbon footprint.

Host an outdoor screening!  Use less energy on electricity, heating, and cooling by converting your backyard into a mini theatre, or hosting in a local park. All you need are some speakers, a projector, and a pop-up screen (white sheets and blank wall space work well too). Guests can bring their own blankets, lawn chairs, and snacks, reducing the total energy spent to power the event (and the amount of time you have to spend setting it all up).

planning refreshments

Minimizing waste is key.Social gatherings big and small often result in lots of waste in the form of plastic cups, paper plates, silverware, and napkins. By opting for compostable and recyclable kitchenware, you avoid sending waste to landfills. For smaller screenings, encouraging guests to bring plates, cups, and silverware from home is also a great option! 

BYOWB. Encourage guests to “Bring Your Own Water Bottle” with BYOWB perks, maybe a free raffle ticket, or a free drink from the bar. Not only will this boost participation, and add a bit of competitive fun, it will help reduce the overall waste of the event. Screenings in the past have even provided reusable cups and mugs for guests to use and take home to with them as a mini gift!

Ditch single use plastic. Did you know that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day? A lot of that plastic ends up in the ocean. To keep your event from contributing to this statistic, eliminate the need for straws altogether by not offering any at all. Instead of providing drinks in plastic bottles and/or cans, fill up dispensers that can hold a couple gallons of water or a homemade drink. This way guests can refill as much as they please from one cup or a personal water bottle.

the menu

Serve finger foods. Who doesn’t love a quick, poppable snack? Bonus, finger foods eliminate the need for plates and silverware altogether. Your guests can always use recycled brown napkins to keep their hands clean that can be composted after use!  

Think veggies. Lots and lots of veggies. Meat production has been cited as a large contributor of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. It’s a also a huge energy sucker, using lots of crops and water to raise farm animals. Why not use your event as an opportunity to serve up a unique vegetarian menu, leading by example and showing guests “meatless” doesn’t have to taste-less. Low on meatless ideas? Check out these meals inspired by Meatless Monday to get you started!

Inspire accidental veganism. Vegetarian options are great, but veganism one-ups the menu by completely eliminating animal products of any kind. Unfortunately, veganism often gets a bad rap. Little do your guests know that snacks such as Sour Patch Kids, Kettle Chips, and other popular treats are considered vegan. Check out this link to “sneaky vegan” options you could use to broaden your guests’ horizons.

Opt for local catering. If you’re looking for a market or restaurant to help you with your culinary needs, Eat Well Guide can serve up different sustainable, local, and organic options for you. All you need is your zip code.

Clean up + Disposal

Organize recycling  + composting stations. After gathering a few bins (your venue may have these available, or you can use your own), use these printable signs to designate a recycling, compost, and trash bin. Large, visual signs can help your guests know what goes where! (P.S. by offering only compostable and recyclable kitchenware, you won’t even need a trash bin.)

Clean up with eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Products that use naturally derived, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients reduce chemical impact on the environment, from bathroom tissue and hand soap, to countertop cleaner and paper towels.

Dive Deeper

Whether it’s going zero waste,  holding a “sustainable” raffle with eco-friendly prizes or engaging guests in letter-writing session, use our action guide for ideas of how to inspire your guests to take action that will have an impact beyond the screening.

Have a look at how So Manly, a community organization who fuses the local economy with the protection of the ocean and the environment, tied things together with environmentally-friendly elements throughout their screening experience and a fun call-to-action to engage guests in.

Planning a screening? Check out our Amazon shopping list to stock up on sustainable products for your guests.

Already hosted a screening? Send us your sustainability tips and tricks for a chance to be featured on our blog and social media pages at [email protected]!

Share your ideas. Let us know how you have made your screening more environmentally-friendly by leaving a comment below. We’ll add our favorite ideas as part of this post.