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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Welcome to the official web site of the City of Portland, Oregon

General Information: 503-823-4000


1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 110, Portland, OR 97204

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Sustainability Practices Recommended for Meetings and Events

Organizing Meetings and Events

Choosing a Location

  1. 1.      Plan meetings at locations that have recycling programs in place, will provide reusable kitchenware, and provide water through reusable pitchers rather than bottled water.
  2. 2.      If meeting requires a hotel stay, research hotels that are within walking distance of the meeting, provide telecommunicating abilities, recycle, and encourage the reduction of water use.


Waste Reduction

Utilize durable/reusable dishes, utensils, linens, and service ware whenever possible.  Ask caterers to provide such items and/or encourage participants to bring their own.

If durable/reusable items are not available or impractical, seek products made from recycled content (most notably, paper products). 


Providing Refreshments

  1. Particularly if using City money, seek caterers or other food providers that use locally grown, organic, or fair trade ingredients/food items (e.g., fair trade coffee).
  2. Seek locally-owned and/or MWESB businesses.
  3. When planning meals, consider people with diet preferences or restrictions, such as vegetarians.  Consider asking ahead of time if any attendees have diet restrictions.
  4. Do not purchase of bottled water with City funding unless absolutely necessary. Use reusable pitchers or water coolers, which can be borrowed from the Water Bureau if you work group doesn’t have their own.
  5. Focus food choices on seasonal items.
  6. Ask if your caterer provides plates and utensils that are compostable.  If so, ask how the caterer collects such items for composting.  NOTE: it is only useful to use compostable items if, in fact, they will be composted and not thrown into the trash. See the Office Depot catalogue for items that are compostable at City buildings.
  7. Ask if your caterer donates leftover food using Fork It Over! or a similar program.  If so, ask how the caterer collects such items for donation.


Recycling Receptacles

  1. Ensure the event location has recycling containers available, accessible, and visible to participants.  Check to see if event location actually does recycle items.
  2. Ensure collection areas for other specialty items such as food compost, reusing name-badges, etc. When holding events in a City building that composts, be sure to request a compost bin in your room reservation form to Facilities.

Meeting Communications

  1. a.      Provide electronic copies of documentation ahead of time instead of hard copies at the meeting. Use PowerPoint, or other electronic display, as opposed to handouts when possible.
  2. b.      If hard copies are necessary, always use at least 30% percent recycled content paper and print front and back.
  3. c.      Use a white board and a meeting note taker to express and capture ideas, rather than a flip chart. Email out notes at the end of the meeting.
  4. d.      Use reusable signs to direct people to the meeting location.


Reduce Transportation

  1. Encourage participants to use alternative modes of transportation such as public transportation or carpooling.  Include public transportation options information with registration information.
  2. Provide conference call options for long-distance participants.
  3. Ask your manager if you can purchase carbon offsets for trips that require airplane travel.



  1. Select rooms with flexible lighting schemes for meeting needs.
  2. Turn off the lights at the end of meetings, regardless of location (conference rooms, lunch rooms, etc.).
  3. Ask the facility about energy saving measures they use in their conference rooms, meeting spaces, and lunch rooms.