Are you hosting an outdoor event? Do you have a booth at a festival? Let's help you keep your event green! We've created a Green Guide for LEN Members to host the greenest events around London!
Reducing Your Waste:
Are you hosting a plastic water bottle free event? The City of London has two new "Thirstation" drinking water stations available at no cost for community events! Connect with their Water Team to see if the station is available for your event. Give them a call at 519-661-CITY (2489) ext. 5081 or email: [email protected]
Perfect for large gatherings - the City of London's larger Thirstmobile can be borrowed from the city at no cost for community events between May-August. The City officials will set up a booth at your event to promote the service. You may have seen the Thirstmobile at SunFest or Pride London, and it could be at your next event!
Note: Due to COVID-19, we recommend connecting with the City of London about the operational status of Thirstations and Thirstmobiles.
Plates and Cutlery Rentals
Rent reusable dishes and cutlery through the Home County Festival, year round! Rentals are by donation for your next event, and renters must wash dishes before & after use. Contact Martha Zimmerman at [email protected] for this service.
TREA Eco Stations
Thames Region Ecological Association (TREA) runs the Eco Stations at many London festivals. Eco Stations are set up at the event with appropriate bins for landfill, compost, recycling, and cutlery, and are staffed by TREA volunteers. If you would like to set up an Eco Station at your next event, contact TREA at [email protected]
Garbage & Recycling Bin Rentals
The City of London can provide equipment such as garbage & recycling bins for your event upon request. When you fill out this Neighbourhood Event Request Form, there is an option to request the bins. Neighbourhood Events are described as: events held in a public space utilizing volunteers has a low budget, has low cost/no cost activities, is labelled grassroots (led by local leaders and volunteers), and has attendance up to 300 people. This event is a non-profit and non-fundraising event.
About 45% of curbside garbage is organic waste. Looking to divert your event's organic waste from the landfill? Check out the Urban Roots Community Composting Program! You can drop off your organic waste at their compost pile on their farm located at 21 Norlan Ave. The compost is used to help grow more fresh produce for the community.
Green Transportation & Energy:
Bike Racks & Bike Valet
You can request a bicycle rack for your next event through the City of London. Contact Allison Miller, Transportation Demand Mgt. Coordinator, at 519-661-CITY (2489) ext. 5389 or by email at [email protected]
Our LEN members London Cycle Link (info: [email protected]) and CAN-Bike London (Contact: [email protected]) can provide bike valet services at your event to ensure that your guests' bikes are parked, sheltered, and safe!
Organizing Cycling Rides
We have worked with CAN-Bike London and London Cycle Link to organize community cycling rides to our July Green Drinks. You can organize group cycling rides for your next event too! These cycling rides are led by experienced cyclists that will work with you to map out a route, perform bike checks before the ride, and lead the ride, making it easy for guests to reduce vehicle emissions to your event. Inquire about cycling rides by connecting with one of our cycling-focused members:
CAN-Bike London - [email protected]
London Cycle Link - [email protected]
TREA - [email protected]
Public Transit: LTC Routes and Passes
Encourage public transit by sharing the bus route #s and stops in the immediate area of your event, and providing the link for guests to plan their trip via the LTC website. If your event is more than 1 day long and registered with Tourism London, your event may be eligible for an LTC Convention Pass (free transportation) for registered guests. For more information on a Convention Pass, contact Tourism London.
Is your event near an EV charging station? Find out here. You can provide guests with the opportunity to learn more about EVs by inviting our LEN Member, London Electric Vehicle Association, to park at your next event & share information about the benefits of EVs.
Carbon Offsetting (or close to it)
There are a variety of ways you can offset the emissions generated from your next event. One way is to ask guests about their planned mode of transportation & the approximate kilometres travelled to and from the event. You can estimate the total emissions of CO2 generated by vehicle transportation by using a Carbon Emissions Calculator, which then converts it to a dollar value, and then you can donate that value to a local environmental group of your choice to support their work.
An alternative way to offset your emissions is through Bullfrog Power or Carbonzero, in which they estimate the amount of energy required to power your event based on the square footage. They convert this to a dollar value (that you pay), to ensure that "for every kWh of electricity you use, a kWh from a pollution-free, renewable source is put on the grid on your behalf". This type of offsetting supports renewable, green energy through the premium you pay, but no special equipment is required. Your event will also be Bullfrog or Carbonzero Certified - which is a great way to share your event's commitment to green energy.
Neighbourhood Events: Equipment Lending
If you are working with a neighbourhood association or community group for your event, you could rent your equipment free of charge from the City of London! Check out this list here to see the full selection of equipment offered (from pop-up tents to giant checkers), and fill out the Neighbourhood Event Request form here.
Note: Due to COVID-19 all City of London equipment rentals for January and February 2021 have been cancelled.
Neighbourhood Buy Nothing Groups
The Buy Nothing Project allows individuals to share and give what they have to people within their own neighbourhood. No selling or buying involved, everything is given freely. Give, share, and ask for items that would be useful to you! This helps to divert more materials from entering our landfills and builds positive relationships within our communities. Find your own Neighbourhood Buy Nothing Group here.
Reimagine Co. Tool Library
Reimagine Co. is in the process of putting together a Tool Library, similar to that of a regular book library, where you will be able to borrow tools as you need them, and give them back when done. We will share more information with you when we have it, but we also encourage you to sign up for their newsletter to stay up-to-date with all their awesome upcoming projects!
All About the Food:
Sourcing Local Food & Drink
Besides improving food literacy and education for youth, our LEN Member Growing Chefs! Ontario also offers catering services using nutritious, whole foods. GCO uses local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible, with plenty of vegetarian & vegan options, and can accommodate dietary restrictions for your next event. GCO also supplies reusable dishes, cutlery, and linens upon request. Contact [email protected] for inquiries about catering.
We also recommend you connect with other local businesses, known for their commitment to using local and/or seasonal ingredients: Plant Matter Kitchen, Edgar and Joe's Cafe, London Brewing Co-op (Brewery), and Storm Stayed Brewing Company. However, there are MANY more amazing local restaurants & breweries in London that share this philosophy. We encourage you to inquire about where the ingredients are sourced from regardless of the caterer or venue you go with to start this dialogue about local & sustainable food!
If you already have a designated chef for your event, consider sourcing your produce locally by connecting with LEN Members Urban Roots London (fresh veggies are grown in season on their urban agriculture farm in London), or one of London's many farmer's markets.
What do you do with leftover food when your event is done? There are multiple organizations in London that accept perishable & non-perishable food and redirect the food to support vulnerable populations in the community. This prevents perfectly good food from going to landfill and supports those that are food insecure. Read about the Donation of Food Act (1994) here.
London Food Coalition - A collaborative of over 20+ organizations that serve Londoners living in poverty.
Donations: [email protected] // or call Doug Whitelaw at 519-667-0322 // or call Nancy Kerr 519-661-0343 ext. 266
Ark Aid Street Mission - Serving people who live on the margins of society.
Donations: Call Doug Whitelaw, Executive Director, 519-667-0322
The London Food Bank - Helping over 3,600 families a month and providing food to over 20 other social agencies.
Donations: Call 519-659-4045
Mission Services - Safe shelter, food, clothing, and rehabilitation.
Donations: Call Debrann Eastabrook, Food Services Manager, 519-672-8500
Salvation Army Centre of Hope - There to help with emergency food assistance.
Donations: Call Nancy Kerr, 519-661-0343 ext. 266
Other Tips for Green Events:
- Encourage guests to bring reusable cups, containers, and cutlery to your event in advance, and mention that you are striving to make it a waste-free event. Mentioning this early on gets the message out and allows people to plan their trip better.
- BORROW! Searching for a specific item? Ask your neighbours, coworkers, extended family, or friends! A lot of time and money can be saved by borrowing gently used items (that are likely accumulating dust in your neighbour's basement), instead of purchasing new items that you will seldom use.
- Shop used! Shopping used is a great alternative for when borrowing is not an option. London is abundant with secondhand shops, and you'll likely find the item you are looking for at a discounted price - not to mention you are supporting a more circular economy by reusing perfectly good items. Check out Goodwill Industries for secondhand clothes, furniture, home decor, and more! You can also read up on the Green Advisory Team at Goodwill Industries (OGL) here.
- Consider doing a potluck. Potlucks are great because it allows everyone to contribute something unique to the event. You'll get a diverse spread of homemade dishes, and it will likely be brought in reusable containers, so people can exchange food and take leftovers home too!
- Reimagine Co is a community hub to encourage collaborations and resources for zero waste living in London. If you are looking for unpackaged, zero-waste supplies for your next event, check out Reimagine Co's zero waste store located at 206 Piccadilly St. You can purchase everything from reusable containers to all-purpose natural cleaner in bulk. (Plus, a bamboo toothbrush would make a swag bag item for your event)! They also recently opened as the city's first package free grocery store!
- If you're looking for environmentally-friendly gifts or giveaways for your events, check out some green ideas below:
- The Gift of a Tree - you can pick up a seedling from ReForest London at one of their Tree Depots, order seedlings during their planting season, or plant a tree in someone's honour in their Celebration Forest.
- When in season, Thames Talbot Land Trust has native plants available for pick-up
- During harvest season, Urban Roots London has a variety of fresh, (non-certified) organic produce grown right at their farm in London that would make a great gift. They also accept Harvest Bucks at their seasonal evening market - so consider purchasing Harvest Bucks as gifts at your event too!
- Did your event feature a guest speaker? Are you looking for a way to thank them (without giving them stuff they might not even use)? A great way to thank them is to donate to one of our amazing LEN Member organizations in their name!
Thanks for reading London Environmental Network's Green Guide for Green Events. If you have any feedback or would like to share a resource that we missed, please email us at [email protected]. Please share this resource around to help make more of London's events green!