In late 2007, a unique partnership named GreenGatherings was formed to shape the greening of events, large and small, in the Twin Cities metro-area, beginning with the 2008 Republican National Convention. With the eyes of the world on our region, the partnership saw a tremendous opportunity to collaborate and showcase the region’s environmental practices as well as shape the environmental impact of future events in the area.

The project partners include Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, the Cities of Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Bloomington, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Environmental Protection Agency Region 5. For the past ten months, these partners have been vigorously working together with public agencies and businesses to build support and resources for greening events, large and small, in the region. Successes have also been achieved in the hospitality sector locally.

Several regional events are developing sustainability plans to green fairs and festivals. The plans help coordinators outline reasonable goals for going green by outlining key tasks in waste management, waste reduction, food, transportation, construction, and energy use. “One of the key areas that most festivals struggle with is recycling,” said Zack Hansen, Environmental Health Director with Saint Paul/Ramsey County Public Health. “Through something as simple as co-locating recycling bins with garbage cans, a festival can increase the success of their recycling program.”

Regional events that are currently developing sustainability plans include several festivals in Saint Paul: Cinco de Mayo, Rondo Days, Irish Fair, and Grand Old Day. In addition to developing long-term sustainability plans, some events have taken green steps in 2008. For example, at this year’s Rondo Days Senior Dinner, event organizers used all local food and provided food composting for a record number of event attendees.

There are many things people can do at smaller events, such as:

For House Parties

Provide reusable plates, cups, silverware, and linens. If you do not have enough reusable items, consider borrowing some from a friend or renting items. Provide food and refreshment in bulk.

Recycle all plastic, aluminum, and glass.

Encourage carpooling among guests.

Save paper! Invite guests via a free online invitational service such as

For Small Meetings

Choose a meeting location that is centrally located and provides video or phone conferencing options.

Provide information on bus and bike routes to the meeting venue as well as information on the location of bike racks and encourage ridesharing.

Save waste! Skip box lunches, serve in bulk.

For Block Parties:

Have a potluck. Have neighbors bring their own plates, cups, silverware, and reusable linens, and bring them home to wash.

Encourage neighbors to walk or offer to organize a carpool if necessary.

Check for recycling services at a public location; if unavailable, ask for volunteers to take recycling home with them. 


How to Host a Green Gathering Checklist, (go to “Business”)

GreenGatherings Project,

Green Meetings Industry Council,

How to Host a Green Gathering Checklist, (search for “host a green gathering”)

Act Locally!

Green Gatherings Partnership Contacts:
St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health
Amber Dallman, 651-266-1179
Maplewood, MN

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Rick Patraw, 651-215-0193
St. Paul, MN

Green Gatherings

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