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It all starts with a bottle…


Organizing conferences and gatherings is fun and very rewarding; it brings together people in different places to discuss topics that matter to them. Whether the topics discussed involve politics, great ideas, or technological advancements — Wherever people gather, one inevitable fact is that resources will be used. As the organizer responsible for such events, you should have one thing in mind…

To have as little impact on the environment as possible.

I’m more than happy that my small initiative to change the giveaway at FrontendConf 2016 to a bottle was such a success. (Getting rid of shirts also received positive feedback at several other conferences I co-organized.) Not only did we reduce the plastic waste that comes from the use of water bottles, we were able to use plain tap water. (Yes, tap water is safe to drink in Switzerland and it’s just as good as the bottled water you can buy for absurdly high prices.)

The team went to great lengths to find a bottle which allows a bit of branding for the conference and is also environmentally sustainable. The Dopper Bottle ticked all the right boxes.

Their website states: “Dopper wants to live in a world where people are aware of the environment, where we actively reduce single-use plastic waste, and where everyone, close to home and far away, has access to safe and fresh drinking water.”

There are many ways you can create an environmentally sustainable event. We are not where we want to be in starting initiatives like this, but we are raising awareness, and that is a step in the right direction.

Are you planning a conference, gathering, or other event? Why not do your part to help sustain the environment that we all enjoy by reducing plastic waste. Consider offering a reusable water bottle as a giveaway at your gathering. Or even encourage the participants to bring along a waterbottle themselve (you know, there are a lot of people who carry around their bottle day-in and day-out).

If you want to learn more about the Bottle you should watch Merijn Everaarts talk at TEDxHongKongED.

That was the first initiative that worked out well. More to come 🙂

7 responses to “It all starts with a bottle…”

  1. Funny, this is already the third conference that I’ve been to that gave me a bottle. Here’s a thought: How about just not handing out a bag of crap?

    • Totally with you on that point. I saw conferences which had a grab table with goods to take. The Supplies lasted only for 2/3 of the attendees so it was sure that there won’t be something left.

      Making Giveaways sustainable is a hard thing because if you work with sponsors you need to challenge their status quo on giveaways too which takes time.

      For the next edition won’t produce bottles again and just encourage people to bring their own (and have a small stock for those who don’t have one).

      It’s an initiative for a start. As we carry on we will come up with more ideas to make the event more sustainable.

      What do you think? Would you be ok with just bringing a water bottle your own and be able to refill it?