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by Michele Polci, CMP, CPCE | February 01, 2011
Fish Facts

• Alaskan wild salmon or Pacific halibut are good seafood choices for events near the West Coast. Both are affordable, plentiful and sustainably fished. Also, they are both very versatile in terms of preparation and presentation options. Consult the Monterrey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program for helpful guidelines (bit.ly/15X7wQ).

• Your chef will know the availability of local options that are in seasonal peak when your event is held.

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The following checklist was compiled by Michele Polci, CMP, CPCE, director of catering sales, Las Vegas Meetings by Caesars Entertainment, who offers the following advice on how best to keep things green.

Choose the Right VenueVerify venue participation in programs promoting energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction.

Select a venue that is centrally located -- in close proximity to the airport and accessible to mass transit.

Ensure that the venue offers recycling bins in public spaces or participates in back-of-house recycling programs.

Publicize Your EffortsLet your participants know -- beforehand and in the meeting agenda -- that they are attending a green event.

Prior to the event, share your sustainability initiatives on the organization's website.

Food and Beverage
Replace individual bottled waters, teas and juices with pitchers and reusable glasses or water bottles.

To counter potential dissatisfaction over a lack of bottled water, offer waters that are infused with citrus, cucumber or berries. Provide these items on the water station to create an enhanced experience.

On the first day of the event, offer attendees company-sponsored and logoed water bottles or coffee tumblers. Attendees will want to reuse these items, which will decrease the amount of glassware, paper or plastic cups that would be needed otherwise.

Eliminate preset water or iced tea at all meal functions.

Remove the saucer under the coffee cup. This eliminates the number of dishes that will need to be washed, conserving water.

Go bulk. Steer clear of small packaged and disposable items. This can be done with elements such as sweeteners, cream and savory condiments.

Make use of reusable china, flatware and glassware. If choosing a venue that does not allow china, use biodegradable service items.

Choose menu items that eliminate the need for flatware, such as bite-sized tapas or skewered vegetables.

Update your menu by using food as its own serving vessel for passed items -- such as ceviche in a tortilla cup.

Choose locally sourced food and beverages that are sustainable, seasonal and/or farm-direct.

Use organic products when possible.

Use recyclable signage on buffets highlighting organic and/or locally grown items.

Use local donation programs for leftover materials or food and beverages.

DécorUse linen tablecloths and napkins. Avoid paper products whenever possible.

For multiday events, use centerpieces that can be repurposed and modified for a new look.

Use décor items that can be donated after the event. Choose centerpieces, such as flowers or plants, that are sustainable.

Source audiovisual and stage products locally to eliminate carbon emissions due to shipping/travel.