Last year I was honored to be on the BlogHer Green Team to help advice them on ways to make the conference a little bit more eco-friendly. I hope that our efforts and our ideas are considered again this year during their planning and that maybe they implement a few new green initiatives each year. The official BlogHer sponsors (the one’s that help keep our costs down, pay for the food we eat, pay for the speakers we listen to, and provide a lot of the swag we love) dictate a lot of the areas in which raise concern with some of the eco-minded attendees so there are limitations on how far BlogHer can change things. Regardless of what steps BlogHer and the sponsors provide we can each do our own part to help green our own experiences in California.
1. Carpool, take public transportation, or walk! One of the most amazing things about BlogHer is the ability to connect with other bloggers. As it gets closer to the arrival date start tweeting with the #blogher11 tag and look for a ride to share to the hotel. According to the Marriott website shuttle service is provided for $8/pp and taxi fare is $12/pp from SAN airport. You could also take public transportation which I understand is quite easy in California. Here is the link to the transit website. http://www.sdcommute.com/
2. Reduce the Swag you take! – Even if you only gather official conference sponsor swag you will still encounter at TON of stuff you may not need. I took home an entire suitcase full of swag along with an extra box that I mailed home. From what I understand there were some attendees who had to ship several boxes home so I guess I didn’t do too bad. Be mindful of what you collect. If it’s not something that you will ever use don’t take it. If it’s something that challenges your beliefs or is against what you believe in (maybe a sponsor you don’t support) then don’t take their swag. You can still engage in conversation with a sponsor and connect with them if you don’t take their stuff – saying no may actually make you stand out from the crowd.
3. Use the Recycle Suite! Last year BlogHer provided a drop off room where attendees could drop off any swag they received that they later decided they didn’t want. This room was open to other attendees who may be interested in those items. Leftover items are then managed in a mindful way – either given back to the sponsors, donated to a local charity, or recycled. Whatever you do, don’t throw something out if it won’t fit into your luggage on the last day. There is someone who will appreciate what you don’t want. Otherwise, keep it and give it as a gift to someone back home or hold a giveaway for it on your blog.
4. Carry a refillable water bottle! It would surprise me if you didn’t end up with at least 5 water bottles from the sponsors at BlogHer so you may not need to bring your own. Carry the bottles with you everywhere you go during the conference. Last year they had water filling stations set up in most of the conference spaces so you could easily refill them throughout the day.
5. Reuse and get Crafty! Are you a crafty person? Do you like to upcycle? Find ways to reuse some of the swag you receive when you get home and turn them into fun DIY projects and tutorials for you blog. The sponsors will appreciate the shout out and your readers will appreciate the fun projects. I have a box of t-shirts that I craft with making scarves and other fun projects for friends around the holidays.
6. Bring your own Utensils! This is just as easy as bringing your own water bottle. I have a set of RePEaT utensil sets that I like to keep in my purse. They are small and compact and will help you reduce waste when you are only provided with disposable utensils. The conference space itself is really good about providing regular reusable utensils but if you go off-site or eat out these will come in handy – especially while traveling.
7. Bring a Straw! Say what? Don’t add to the waste by using disposable straws when you can bring your own glass straw. I have a set of straws that I received a few years ago and they fit nicely into my RePEat case. I’m not as diligent as I would like to be with straws but it’s an easy way to reduce your personal impact.
8. Shop your Closet! Looking for a new outfit to take to BlogHer? Shop your closet first and find out what treasures you may already have hidden. Remember that little black dress that you wore 3 years ago – it may still fit right? Add some sparkly new jewelry or a new pair of flashy shoes and bring that outfit back to life. Another option is to shop your friends closet or a thrift store. I’ll probably be hitting up Marshall’s or TJ Max to find a few new pieces to dress up the outfits I already have. Just remember to be yourself – but kick it up a notch! BlogHer is a great time to experiment because if you stand out in the crowd that’s not always a bad thing.
9. Reuse your Towels and Sheet! How often do you change your sheets at home? How often do you grab a new towel at home? Most of us (even those OCD types) do this about once a week unless the items are really dirty. Since we’re all staying for 2-5 days there really isn’t a reason to change your sheets and towels every day is there? Of course there may be a spilled drink or some other random accident that causes you to have to have them laundered but under normal conditions your sheets and towels will be fine for the duration of your stay. If we all requested to save our sheets and towels we would collectively save the hotels thousands of gallons of water.
10. Bringing Baby? Bring Cloth Diapers! You can travel with cloth diapers so pack them up and bring them with you. If I were toting my tot with me I would be packing up my flats and washing in the sink for a few days. Otherwise look up a local cloth diapering service on the Real Diaper Association’s website and set up a short term service while you’re in town. Just give them a call and tell them what your needs are – most services have travel packages available and will deliver right to your hotel.
What about you? How else will you reduce your environmental impact while traveling to BlogHer ’11? Are you a green or cloth diapering mama? Join our conversation on Facebook – Green and Cloth Diapering Mama’s Going to BlogHer ’11 page.
Special thanks to Rockin’ Green Soap for sponsoring my trip to BlogHer ’11. Rockin’ Green Soap is a natural laundry detergent designed especially for use with cloth diapers but can also be used on regular laundry too. In addition to using Rockin’ Green for laundry there are hundreds of different uses for this soap. Be sure to sign up for 52 Weeks of Clean where they share a new tip for using Rockin’ Green around your home. For more information about Rockin’ Green visit them on theWeb, Facebook, and on Twitter.