Attendees Urged to Help RSNA Be Green
If you're reading this article on paper, recycle it when you're done.
That's just one of the easy ways that attendees of the RSNA 2013 can lessen the impact that the meeting has on the environment. RSNA's efforts to offer a green meeting—defined by the Beaverton, Ore.-based Green Meetings Industry as one that reduces waste, increases efficiency and supports the local community while still achieving goals like education, advocacy and social networking—have increased steadily over the last several years.
Thanks to the efforts of its vendors, volunteers, attendees and staff, green meeting efforts during RSNA 2012 resulted in 250 tons of material—some 70 percent of the waste generated during the meeting, including recyclables such as fiber, compost, bottles and cans—diverted from the landfill. The environmental impact of the 2012 activities can also be described as saving 3,800 trees, 86,000 gallons of oil, 929,000 kilowatts of electricity and 1.6 million gallons of water.
A big shout out, of course, goes to the McCormick Place venue. Green initiatives at McCormick Place range from the fair simple, such as turning off lights and powering down escalators when not in use and minimizing use of heating, ventilation and air conditioning on move-in, move-out and non-event days, to the more substantial such as replacing fluorescent lights with more efficient, longer-lasting fixtures and obtaining more recycling compactors. The McCormick Place caterer, SAVOR ...CHICAGO, minimizes its carbon footprint by purchasing locally produced and sustainably raised products, sourcing sustainable seafood, using non petroleum-based products and recycling and composting waste whenever possible.
RSNA wants to be even greener this year, and the distribution of reusable—rather than plastic—bags throughout the meeting is a big, visible step toward that goal. "The bags are designed to not only be useful as attendees accumulate materials and souvenirs throughout the meeting, but also to be durable enough to take home and keep using as well," said Janet Cooper, director of convention operations for RSNA.
Elizabeth Holland, M.D., an RSNA member from River Forest, Ill., who has helped RSNA develop some of its green initiatives, urged attendees to think about their roles as physicians when it comes to helping RSNA achieve the greenest meeting possible. "Go back to your core principles and it becomes easier," she said, noting that many physicians find a natural fit as they try to protect their patients from pollution and other environmental harms. "We need to be models of how to do things right," she said.
What RSNA and Its Vendors Are Doing
Here are some ways that RSNA and its vendors, including McCormick Place, have made meetings more environmentally friendly:
- Using email to replace much of the printed pre-meeting communication to the meeting attendees and exhibitors
- Providing most meeting materials, including the Meeting Program and Daily Bulletin, online as well as in print
- Offering QR codes for attendees to scan and download information about RSNA programs and services onto their mobile devices, eliminating the need for as many printed brochures
- Using Green Seal-certified cleaning products and restroom products that are 100 percent post-consumer recycled content paper
- Reserving a portion of parking for low-emitting and fuel efficient vehicles
- Eliminating the use of Styrofoam and polystyrene plastic products and using biodegradable flatware, straws, serving dishes and cups
- Donating excess food to a local food bank
- Ensuring that potential pest abatement is handled with the least environmental impact possible
- Asking that landscaping proposals incorporate a green plan which includes use of environmentally friendly products and practices such as composting and water conservation
What Attendees Can Do
Here are some ways RSNA 2013 attendees can help make the annual meeting green:
- Recycle paper, plastic and aluminum in receptacles throughout McCormick Place, and drop off unwanted bags, programs, lanyards and badges for recycling as well
- Ride the Metra Electric trains, using the complimentary shuttle or sharing a cab
- Consider turning off their hotel room lights, electronics and heat when the room is unoccupied
- Use refillable bottles at water stations located throughout McCormick Place