Written by futureofwaste

This collaborative toolbox is under construction until March 2019.

This article is part of our toolbox
“Tackling waste in tourism & events”

You decided to work at reducing waste in your tourism/event organization, welcome on board! It’s now time to organize a workshop gathering your green team (and potentially also other stakedholders) to design the action plan that you’d like to implement. We’ll go through the different steps, tools and tips to help you prepare as best as possible.


  • Stakeholders will be more likely to stick to changes they designed themselves.
  • You can rely on your stakeholders different user experience to build taylor-made solutions.
  • A creativity workshop will help you make more detailed action plan.

1. Consolidate information

First things first, it is a common mistake to rush to solutions before even knowing what the context or the problem is which result in failure in implementation, low impact or low efficiency.

Example: At first, in the coworking space Sensespace (link) we started to put segregation bins for paper everywhere although hardly anybody print, and that there was no affordable collection and treatment solutions for paper, that ended up mixed with other recyclables.

So before searching or brainstorming for solutions please make sure you successfully finished the previous steps:

  1. Define a vision that is built and shared with stakeholders and benefit from the support of management to be sure you will be able to mobilize your team.
  2. Audit the amount, temporality, costs and factors of waste to settle priorities.
  3. Understand the local context, the laws, habits, rules, players and infrastructures to select relevant solutions.
  4. Consult your external stakeholders to estimate their potential for change.
  5. Prioritize your actions to select only waste you could or have to implement in the short or middle term according to your agenda, resources and context.

2. Frame the challenge

You should by now be able to sketch 1 question (or more) that will help you build an action plan regarding the most convenient or urgent waste streams you want to tackle. Formulate it so that it is SMART:

Specific: it relates to a waste stream.

Measurable: where do we start from and what we want to achieve.

Ambitious: will bring real opportunities and impact.

Realistic: it can be achieved.

Time-framed: in 4 weeks? 3 months? 2 years?

For each question you should then:

  • Rely on the conditions, pros and cons of our solution tabs.
  • Check what has already been tried both internally or in similar structures.
  • Imagine a specific objective you would like to reach.
  • Which format of output would you like at the end of the workshop? (An action plan, user scenario, content of a communication campaign, spread on a timeline, etc.)
  • What are the resources you can rely on and the constraints you have to deal with?
  • Prepare the necessary documents (maps, legislation, etc.)

It will help you give, display details about the challenge(s) and design one or several solutions template that will help participant focus on an understandable, useful and concrete action plan.

Example 1:

  • How can I provide a packaged-less buffet without impairing quality or hygiene?
    • Objectives:
      • Avoiding waste during cocktails
      • Avoiding single use packaging
      • Respecting legislation
      • Make sure customers does not find this cheap or dirty
      • Output template
      • List of zero waste caterers to contact
      • Communication toolkit for customers
      • User journey of employees to keep the buffet nice and clean

Exemple 2:

  • How can I implement organic waste segregation and composting?
    • Objectives
      • Reduce waste collection cost by 30%
      • Attract new clients through certification
      • Output template
      • Process for employees
      • Which best containers and where to put them
      • Communication strategy

3. Prepare your workshop’s content

3.1 Introduction

Thanks to the slide deck you did during previous steps you can make a 10-minute presentation about:

  • the vision,
  • the local context,
  • the typology of waste from the structure,
  • the players you can work with locally as well as inspirational examples,
  • the solutions you would like to implement and the challenge and output you expect from participants.

3.2 Methodology

  • Prepare a deck of slide with the agenda of the workshop with the person that will facilitate it. It is recommended that you get help from someone else that will explain the rules, timeframe and help you facilitate the workshop.

3.3 Divergence (30 min)

  • It might be useful to unleash the creativity of your participant during a first round so that they can bring you fresh inspiration from other references and points of view. Make sure you settle the right creative atmosphere during that round by setting a few rules: ideas must fit in a few words, people should rebound on each other’s ideas but not commenting or judging them, they should write and tell outloud their ideas one at a time. It must be quick hectic and prolific.Find questions that will help you find original ideas that will later on be consolidated into the template you provided.

For instance for example 1:

  • What are the fruits and vegetables you’d like to see on a buffet?
    What would you consider disgusting on a buffet? /How would you avoid that?
    What often comes with plastics on the buffet/What would be the alternative?
    What are the ingredients of a premium buffet?
    What makes you choose an aliment rather than another?
    What kind of message are you happy with regarding food?

3.4 Convergence

  • At that point you will have to split the participants in smaller groups so that they can fill the templates you have created during the framing phase. You can prepare as many template as there are groups and thus tackle several challenges regarding different waste streams.

3.5 Communication

  • Create and communicate your event:

Invite different stakeholders:

  • Member of your green team
  • Employees
  • Partners & suppliers
  • Customers
  • Local makesense volunteers through local makesense hotspot

4. Lead / facilitate the workshop

4.1 Preparation

  • Supplies you will need:
    ❏ backs of old receipts or cut-up pieces of scrap paper
    ❏ Pens/pencils (feel free to borrow)
    ❏ Paperboard or use a white/blackboard if you have one

4.2 Prepare zero waste snacking

  • Crude vegetables
  • Jar of water (with lemon slices or mint leaves)
  • Anything you like (you can also ask participants to bring some)

4.3 Set up the space

Show up early to be calm and relaxed when others arrive! To set up, make sure you have one big table with chairs around it for everyone.

If you have desks, see if you can push them together to get a similar set-up.

Distribute stacks of Post-its/eco-Post-its + a pen or pencil around the table for each participant. On a whiteboard or perhaps a sheet of paper on the wall.

Write down:

  • The challenges, objectives, and constraints
  • The agenda
  • The output templates

4.4 Arrival and welcoming

People are arriving!! You’re excited and a little nervous at the same time … especially because you’re not sure how long it will be until the next person shows up! No worries, just follow these tips:

Whether your city has a major traffic problem or a flexible concept of time, sometimes there can be a sizable chunk of time between the arrival of participants. Sometimes there are just one or two people exactly on time and a potentially awkward waiting period for the others. Don’t let it be awkward!

Personally welcome each person who comes in. Ask them questions about themselves, invite them to sit down. Have a little activity or exercise for early arrivals like watching our YouTube playlist (link) or help to cut vegetables in sticks.

4.4 Facilitate

Check this video to understand how to be a good facilitator:

Follow this agenda:

  • Welcoming (20 min)
  • Icebreaker that matches your audience
  • Introduction
    • Findings (10 min)
    • Questions (10 min)
    • Agenda (2 min)
    • Rules (2 min)
  • Divergence (30 minutes)
  • Clustering in groups according to each one’s interest (5 minutes)
  • Convergence (45 minutes)
  • Pitch and feedback (40 minutes)

4.5 Capitalize

Take photos during the different phases of the workshop.

During the convergence phase go from one group to another to make sure all can participate and that they don’t get lost in endless conversation and fill up the output template you are expecting. Explain to the small groups that one person will have to present the template for 5 minutes in front of the audience.

During the presentation the audience has to remain silent but write down feedback to emphasize what they think is relevant as well as ideas to improve. The audience then have another 5 minutes to share their feedback that the team that presented have to note down on the verso of the template.

Make sure you gather all the papers as well as the email of participants you may not know before. Thank everyone before they leave.

Here are a few tips for your feedback email:

Thank them all for contributing

Present the solutions: you can prepare a synthetic report with photos of the solutions templates and links to videos of pitches

Invite them to join the green team

Invite them to subscribe to the newsletter (global and local)

Share photos/videos of the workshop

In a word: get them to engage!

You can also share photos, solutions, etc. in the hotspot group or in the event and invite participants to do so.

5. Define your action plan

Make a copy of the template below and adapt it to your specific needs:

  • Which actions?
  • Which deadlines?
  • Who will be in charge?
  • How is it going (to do / on track / done)?

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This article is part of our toolbox
“Tackling waste in tourism & events”

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