Monday, December 19, 2011

Green Fern Events Helps Produce ZERO WASTE Event for 700 Person Bazaarvoice Holiday Party

On Thursday December 15, 2011 Green Fern Events, Austin's premier sustainable event management company, alongside Wandering River Recycling successfully offset 97% of all the waste for Bazaarvoice’s holiday event held at the Austin Music Hall in downtown Austin, Texas. There were over 700 guests in attendance. Bob McGivney, Owner of Wandering River Recycling said, “In my experience I have never seen an offset percentage as high as this.” He added, “This end result is a testament of how well an offset program can work when proper planning is in place for any event at any size.”  Zero Waste is defined as diverting 90% of trash from landfills by recycling and composting. Not only was this goal met, it was exceeded by 7%.

So how was this achieved?

First, it starts with a company like Bazaarvoice who is dedicated to improving sustainability, minimizing negative environmental impact and demonstrating community goodwill. For the second year in a row, Bazaarvoice hired Green Fern Events to provide recycling and composting services to help “green” their holiday event. Not only is Bazaarvoice a global leader in social commerce solutions and marketing for some of the world’s largest brands, they are setting a powerful example of environmental leadership and corporate social responsibility. With special help from the Bazaarvoice G.I. Joes (a.k.a. the green team), Bazaarvoice implements many green strategies into their business culture, community, as well as for the events they produce.

Second, “It takes a Village.” Green Fern Events, Direct Events staff (management group for Austin Music Hall), Pascal’s Catering, and Red Velvet Events all collaborated in efforts to help minimize waste and environmental impact. 

Third, it requires communication. Emily Kahn, President and Founder of Green Fern Events, effectively communicated the waste management plan to everyone involved. The key to the program’s success was having an informed staff. For example, Green Fern Events asked Pascal’s Catering to provide compostable plates, cutlery, and napkins for the food service. When real china is not available, this is the second-best option. This helped reduce the waste significantly as everything related to food service was compostable and/or biodegradable. Also, all drink containers used for the event were recyclable.

Lastly, limit non-sustainable options. Given the abundance of composting and recycling bins we limited “trash” receptacles; this helped eliminate the option for guests and/or staff to place items in the wrong containers. Pascal’s Catering staff pro-actively bussed the tables and placed all waste in the proper bins. This not only elevated the level of service, it kept all recyclables and compostables from ending up in trash bins.

At the conclusion of Bazaarvoice’s 2011 Holiday event, only 1 bag of trash (weighing 25 pounds) remained. 63% of all the waste was recycled and 34% was composted. The end-result: 97% (600 lbs) of all waste was diverted from a landfill.

About GFE
Green Fern Events is Austin’s premier sustainable event management company. GFE helps clients reduce the negative environmental impact of their events, while at the same time producing flawless, professionally executed events at a cost effective price. More information can be found at

Saturday, December 3, 2011

“Bob & Irene’s Offbeat yet Sustainable Wedding”

Bob & Irene were married Saturday, October 15, 2011 at the beautiful Springdale Farm (Sustainable Urban Farming) in East Austin. Festivities began when the wedding party and approximately half of the guests arrived in a bicycle brigade with the Austin Bike Zoo. Talk about carbon emission reductions! It was a wonderful beginning to one of the most unique and creative weddings I’ve ever experienced.

Preceding the ceremony, guests gathered around the ceremony site for cocktails served in mason jars and a variety of “snacky snacks” as the bride called it. This included local artisan cheeses and crackers, house roasted almonds, and one of the groom’s favorite staples, pretzels. Live music provided by The Inheritance (a local Eastern European folk/experimental dance band) set the perfect mood for the evening.

After the ceremony, guests meandered over to the reception area for an evening filled with “Festivities, Food & Fun.” Whiskey Shivers, an incredibly talented roots music band kept the crowd on their toes with foot-stomping hootenannies and hoe downs throughout the night. Food catered by East Side King (delicious Asian-fusion street food) and Franklin Barbeque (voted best BBQ in America by Bon Appetit) was devoured by everyone.

So besides being incredibly unique, what made this wedding sustainable? Here is a quick rundown of the creative “green” strategy that went into the planning:

Location- Central location near downtown Austin

Venue – Wedding was held at a sustainable urban farm. Rental costs for the venue even went back into the farm to support growth of produce for community.

Transportation – Bicycles and carpooling, local transportation.

Invitations - Were printed on the back of Whole Foods paper shopping bags.

D├ęcor – Centerpieces included reused glass yogurt jars from bride & grooms home, hand-dyed egg shells from their own chickens. No living plants were used. Confetti for the wedding ceremony was also made from crushed egg shells hand-dyed by bride.

Food & Beverage – Real plateware, silverware and linen napkins used. Local foods provided by East Side King and Franklin Barbeque. Salad was made from greens provided by the farm. Homemade margaritas were crafted using simple syrup made from organic raw sugar, hand-squeezed limes and served in mason jars that the bride & groom now have at home for everyday use.

Lighting – LED string lights, compact florescent bulbs, soy candles.

Waste Management – 89% of all waste was recycled or composted. Only 1 bag of trash for over 100 guests.

So now the question many ask..….did it cost more green to go green? It certainly did NOT. This is one of the greatest fallacies we hear in the events industry. Many think it is more expensive to produce sustainable events. This is simply not true. With smart planning, management and implementation, there are many strategies that can be implemented to minimize negative impact without hurting your wallet. This is Green Fern Events area of expertise. As a result, we helped the bride & groom produce a beautiful and unique wedding that was not only cost-effective but sustainable.

To view more picture from the wedding visit HERE
Photography by Zach Hunt