“Greener” Conference Travel Tips

A collection of tips from posts from the past:

  • Bring your own water bottle  – You can fly with it – go through security with it empty and fill up on the other side! Many airports refill stations.
  • Bring your own coffee mug  –  Many places offers discounts for BYOM
  • Bring your own reusable utensils – like these To-go ware options … and toss in a cloth napkin too.
  • Bring a solar panel to rechargehere is the one I have.
  • Bring your own snacks on the plane or rail or car .. and for hotel room: snack mix, fruit, granola bars, nuts, instant oatmeal, popcorn (Usually its cheaper, better and healthier!)
  • Find options other than flying – can you carpool, train, bus  … bike? take a boat? 🙂
  • Try public transportation  – from the airport, and around town.
  • When eating out try for local, sustainable, eco-friendly places  – often times someone attending the conference creates a list if you look around for it  – and remember you can always ask a place about their policies!
  • Limit your swag and picking up promotional materials or handouts that will just be tossed. Can you access the handouts online? Do you really need extra plastic swag?  Also note, if you are flying, carrying all that material back home uses energy which really does add up if everyone were to bring back a few extra pounds.
  • Take a break and meditate
  • Join the Sustainability Round Table of ALA (SustainRT) events! 

Heading to ALA Chicago? a few “green” tips & sustainable programs!


Some tips to consider….

  • Bring your own water bottle, coffee mug and healthy snacks! 
  • Take public transportation: from the airports;  and around town… or walk! (CTA Link)
  • Check out some past tips I suggested for greener travel.
  • Look to eat at  local, sustainable, eco-friendly places.
  • Limit your swag (do you really need that plastic piece of junk?) pick up whats useful only.
  • Handouts  – will you read them? Take only if you must have it and cannot get it online. And do you need to give them out? Make it small, limit use of ink/color ink if you do.

ALA Sustainability Roundtable (SustainRT) Events: 

  • We need your ideas! Please join us for the first meeting of ALA’s newest roundtable – SustainRT! Learn about current plans and share your expertise and experiences to help define the strategic direction and engagement of this roundtable. Everyone is invited.

WhereHyatt Regency McCormick Place (Prairie Room A)
When:   Monday, July 1, 2013 – 8:30am to 10:00am

  • Join members of SustainRT for an unofficial event at ALA  as we take a stroll along the Chicago RiverWalk on Sunday June 30 meeting up by 2:45pm at the corner of East Upper Wacker Drive / North Michigan Avenue (SEE PHOTO). We plan to walk about an hour, heading east toward Lake Michigan, then travel south along Lakefront Trail. At East Monroe, walkers can either turn back, keep going,  or turn west back into town toward the Palmer Hilton Hotel. (about 1.5 mile) depending on where you are headed next! Contact Beth (efwilli3 [at] uncg.edu)t o RSVP or with questions!
  • Stay informed by joining our new listserv – sustainrt-l@ala.org –  All ALA members are welcome to sign up: http://lists.ala.org/sympa
  • Who we are? The ALA Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT) invites the exchange of ideas and opportunities regarding sustainability in order to move toward a more equitable, healthy and economically viable society. The mission of the organization is to provide resources for the library community to support sustainability through curriculum development; collections; exhibits; events; advocacy, communication, library buildings and space design.

Other sustainability related events & programs at ALA Chicago:

Did you know that McCormick Place, Chicago has several sustainable initiatives?

Greener Flying

A three part article from Treehugger:

Green Marketing

Heading to a conference this fall at staying in a hotel?  Will you have the towels replaced after every shower? An interesting 60 second podcast from Scientific America explains a study done on the marketing message left about replacing your towel.  When  “Join Your Fellow Guests in Helping to Save the Environment” card messages were left, rather than just “Help Save the Environment” more hotel guests choose NOT to have their towels replaced.  Why? Though 3/4 of Americas say they are environmentalist, most are swayed more often by the majority. Think about this example when you are marketing for your library. Perhaps a message to your patrons “join your fellow patrons by….” would increase the likelihood of participation in a green initiative or program.

Go Green at the ALA Conference

There are a few ways to be greener at the ALA Conference:

(1) Can you carpool to the conference, take a train, or if you fly rent a hybrid vehicle? You could also purchase carbon offset credits to offset your traveling greenhouse gas emissions. (Visit carbonfund.org)

(2) Can you stay in a green hotel? If not, be green where you are staying. Bring your own supplies and don’t use those small, wasteful plastic bottles. Reuse your towels and sheets instead of asking for clean ones daily. Make sure your lights are turned off in the room. Share a room with others. Drink your morning coffee/tea and water from your personal mug/bottle you brought with you. Check out the green hotel association Web site for more ideas.

(3) Eat at Green Restaurants. Here is a list of certified green places to support. Can you bring your leftovers back to the hotel in your own reusable container to reheat in a microwave for another meal?

(4) Ask you hotel and restaurants how green they are: do they recycle (many restaurants do not!), do they conserve water, do they use compact fluorescent light bulbs, etc. Check out the green hotel association Web site and the going greener restaurant site for more information.. you could even mention these Web sites to the manager of the place.

(5) Attend green sessions while at ALA. See this listing for details.

(6) Read this Green Report (a word doc) from ALA for the Anaheim Convention Center and all hotels who responded to their request.

(7) If you are NOT attending in person (like me!) you can still get information and even participate virtually on many committees, usually not until after the conference has ended. Many folks blog about the sessions they attended or presented. I do wish ALA would mandate a virtual conference side of their regular conference (even at cost – “sign up for the virtual conference”), so we could really virtual watch, read, participate or simply access the information w/o being there in person… anyone know if that is officially in the works?