This post is sponsored by the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated as a BlogPaws Conference Ambassador to help share information about the BlogPaws 2017 Conference but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.
For a group of people that love animals and the planet as much as BlogPaws’ers do, we sure do create a whole lot of waste.
It’s not that we mean to! I really do want to take good care of the planet we’re all sharing, but the truth is? We all do a lot of things every day and especially while preparing for a blogging conference that don’t exactly put Ol’ Mother Earth first! Just think about it for a moment; one of the best parts of the BlogPaws Blogging & Social Media Conference is the awe-inspiring feeling you get when a thousand or so pet bloggers get together in one space. At my first BlogPaws I remember looking around and reeling over the fact there were so many pet bloggers in the whole world forget – forget in one room! Now think about how much waste is created if each of those pet bloggers drinks one bottle of water, has one can of soda, uses one paper coffee cup, doesn’t finish one meal or tosses out one packet of media materials they weren’t really interested in. It’s mind boggling, isn’t it? The result is a whole lot of crap headed for the landfill.
A lot of people know that I’m Canadian (with glowing hearts, y’all!) Recycling your cans and bottles has been the law here for my entire life. At one of my first BlogPaws conferences, I remember wandering the hotel looking for a recycling bin to toss my drink can in. Finally, I gave up and asked at the front desk where the guy gave me a nod and a slow blink before telling me “we don’t do that here.” You guys, I was taken aback. They didn’t…recycle?! Everyone recycles! I couldn’t handle it. I popped the can in my suitcase and took it home with me. For the rest of the conference, I made an effort to only use real glasses, so I didn’t create a suitcase full of recycling to haul home.
I was so excited when BlogPaws announced the first Zero Waste Initiative. Like crazy excited.
Zero Waste isn’t something BlogPaws has to do. There’s no law saying conferences can’t make as much garbage as they want. Zero Waste is something BlogPaws chooses to do to be a better friend to our planet and to minimise the environmental impact of the conference on the cities we visit.
But what exactly does Zero Waste mean?
Simply put, it means making smart decisions that keep as much waste as possible out of the landfill by focusing on three things: not creating/using disposable materials, recycling whatever you can and diverting food waste to composting centres. That may sound like an easy task, but so much more goes into it than you would imagine, especially if the hotels and cities we visit aren’t already set up for waste diversion. This year’s Zero Waste Initiative is an epic collaboration between BlogPaws, the Pet Sustainability Coalition, Only Natural Pet, the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Hotel & Convention Centre, the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County. The team has a HUGE task in front of them. In 2015, the BlogPaws Zero Waste Initiative managed to divert 78% of waste from the landfill. In 2016, that number skyrocketed with 95% of waste being diverted from the landfill. That’s a lot of trash, yall!
So how does it work?
- Thanks to a lot of planning by the Pet Sustainability Coalition, Only Natural Pet and BlogPaws, throughout the conference, Sheraton Staff will be handling waste a little differently than they usually do. In the kitchens, all of our food scraps will be sorted and sent out for composting instead of being trashed.
- The conference centre will fully ready to help attendees be as green as possible, providing separate bins for compost, recycling and trash. With your help, we can make sure all the waste from the conference floor is sorted properly and sent off to be handled as Earth-friendly as possible.
- Once the waste is sorted and collected, it will be weighed so we know just how close to achieving our goal we got, then off it goes!
- Trash will head for the landfill, cans, bottles, paper products and more will head to the Myrtle Beach recycling centre and green waste will be sent out for composting thanks to some support from Horry County.
Myrtle Beach doesn’t currently have a green waste program in place.
In fact, the whole area is pretty new to the composting game. Last fall, Horry County launched a pilot program targeting green waste in schools. You can read all about it here. The program has helped one school reduce their waste from 25 bags of garbage per day to 2. That’s crazy right?? The green waste is then composted and sent back to the schools for use in their community gardens, bringing the sustainability initiative full circle. Local residents can also purchase the compost as a great alternative to gross chemical fertilisers. Is that not the coolest thing? So, to help us reach our Zero Waste Goals,Myrtle Beach and Horry County have stepped up to help and will be working together with the Sheraton to handle all the green waste generated by BlogPaws. Talk about Team Work!
How can YOU help achieve Zero Waste at BlogPaws?
Pledge to support Zero Waste. You can start right now, but tweeting your support to make sure as many attendees as possible are on board to make Zero Waste happen. To share, click on the Tweet This button below, fill in your blog name and what you plan to do to help us achieve our Zero Waste goals.
@KolsNotes is excited to support #ZeroWaste at #BlogPaws by bringing a reusable water bottle. What will you do?
I'm excited to support #ZeroWaste at #BlogPaws by recycling cans & bottles. What will you do? Click To Tweet
- Think green while you pack your suitcase and plan your media kits/swag. Do you really need to bring 100 media kits or could you include a link on your site and direct brands there? Is your swag fun and useful? Postcards and pamphlets introducing yourself are fun, but usually, end up in the trash after the conference.I'm excited to support #ZeroWaste at #BlogPaws by sharing a digital media kit. What will you do? Click To Tweet
- Consider bringing reusable drink containers. My S’well bottle is attached to my hip at pretty much all times and I’m fairly sure I would feel naked without it. Plan on hitting up the Weruva coffee bar? (Maybe multiple times, like I do?) Bring an insulated mug with you. Your coffee will stay warm longer and it’s better for the planet. (Fun fact: even if you forget your cup at home, I hear the coffee bar will be stocked with Earth Friendly cups, pretty neat, eh?)I'm excited to support #ZeroWaste at #BlogPaws by bringing a reusable water bottle. What will you do? Click To Tweet
- Pay attention to your waste at BlogPaws. Most importantly, look at what’s left on your plate, read the signs on the waste bins and make sure you’re sorting your throw away items correctly.I'm is excited to support #ZeroWaste at #BlogPaws by committing to composting. What will you do? Click To Tweet
- Only take session handouts if you’ll use them. It’s always so great when speakers have handouts and notes to help you remember what was discussed, but will you use them or are you like me and they sit in the bottom of your suitcase for a few months? If you’ll refer to them later, grab a set, but if won’t, don’t waste the paper.I'm excited to support #ZeroWaste at #BlogPaws by taking electronic notes. What will you do? Click To Tweet
- Take part in the “Make A Green Choice” Program. If you opt-in to the Make a Green Choice program, you are declining all housekeeping services for the day to help conserve water and energy. (I can’t imagine how many resources a hotel uses on laundry every day!) Coffee & bathroom amenities will not be automatically replenished, but you can contact housekeeping for additional items as necessary. If you opt out, but still want to conserve water and energy, you can hang your towels you want to reuse and place your door hanger on the nightstand to reuse your bed linens.I'm excited to support #ZeroWaste at #BlogPaws by reusing towels & linens. What will you do? Click To Tweet
- Make sure you bring waste from swag bags down to the donation or swap table. Toss all garbage/recycling in the sorting centres, instead of leaving it in your room. Flying home with a ton of unwanted stuff isn’t on anyone’s wish list. Return unwanted items to the swap or donation table and discard any excess paper, cardboard and packaging in the recycling bins, as opposed to leaving it in your hotel room garbage can.I'm excited to support #ZeroWaste at #BlogPaws by recycling packaging. What will you do? Click To Tweet
Is there anything else you can think of to help make Zero Waste a success?
If you haven’t already registered and you’re looking to make 2017 YOUR YEAR as a blogger, what are you waiting for?! This conference changed me as a writer, helped me achieve so many of my blogging goals and continues to push me to make Kol’s Notes all that it can be, plus it’s ONE HECK of a good time. Whether you write exclusively about pets or your pets are the occasional guest star on your blog, you’ll be welcomed with wagging tails and open arms.
I can’t wait to see all of you in Myrtle Beach.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BlogPaws. The opinions and text are all mine.