I have often featured articles on Green Lodging News regarding the greening of meetings, the minimization of waste at meetings, etc. This week I am attending The Lodging Conference in Phoenix, an event that has drawn more than 1,400 attendees. Upon check-in at the conference, each attendee was given a goodie bag full of items, with each item featuring the logo of a sponsor (kind of like Halloween for adults). I was astounded at how heavy the bag was; it must have weighed 10 to 15 pounds. I had to make a special trip to my car to drop it off so that I would not have to lug it around. I am not looking forward to trying to pack these items in my suitcase for the trip home.
I do understand the reasoning for wanting to give conference attendees sponsored items. Without event sponsors, it would be much more difficult to run a profitable event. But is it necessary to give away so many items that probably will just end up in the trash? Why not make a donation to a green organization instead? Or, purchase carbon offsets on behalf of each attendee? Or buy something locally made that an attendee will want to keep?
Was what was given away at The Lodging Conference excessive? I will let you decide. Here is a list of what filled my goodie bag: three bottles of water (thankfully, one was made from Ingeo, a bioplastic that biodegrades easily); a baseball squeeze ball; a leather coaster; a pocket guide for the conference in case you don't want to haul around the more than one-inch thick conference guide; a 42-page attendee list; a CD with the same attendee list; a luggage tag (I will need that one for the extra piece of luggage I will have to purchase to carry my "goodies" home); a flash drive packaged within two boxes; another foam squeeze item in the shape of a dollar bill; a nightlight for reading; a miniature scale (probably to weigh that extra piece of luggage); a bottle of sunscreen; sticky notes; a laser pointer; yellow magic marker; lip balm; measuring tape; three peppermint candies; and a bath robe. Did I forget the kitchen sink? Just kidding about that one. I am not kidding about the fact that many of the items were made in China.