It sometimes feels like the more productive a meeting is, the more waste it generates. From stacks of paper to countless plastic cups, a meeting can quickly turn into an event that makes your inner tree-hugger silently scream.

But if you're hosting a meeting in Monterey County, it doesn't have to be that way. Monterey's many hotels and meeting venues are going out of their way to offer sustainable meetings. And wide-ranging green initiatives across the region are making it easier than ever for meeting planners to plan and execute meetings with eco-friendliness in mind.

Here are a few sustainability efforts we're excited about.

  • The Offset ProjectMonterey County is passionate about ensuring its businesses are operating responsibly. That's why the Offset Project works with local businesses to encourage social responsibility, create carbon emission reports, and develop strategies for offsetting those emissions. For example, working with the Offset Project can help you develop an effective recycling program for your next meeting.
  • Pass It On PleaseHosting a trade show at one of Monterey County's venues? Then partner with Pass It On Please to ensure surplus items (like all that swag that's given out at trade shows) is directed away from landfills and into the hands of nonprofits who can give these items to people who need them.
  • What Goes WhereSometimes figuring where to dispose of certain materials can get confusing. To clear up the confusion, have your team download "What Goes Where," Monterey County's app that guides you through curbside recycling programs and drop-off sites.  

Beyond these eco-friendly initiatives happening across the region, there are also specific meeting spaces that place an emphasis on green meetings. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Portola Hotel & SpaWhen hosting an event at this hotel, you can feel confident that the items you're being provided with are safe and sustainable — including biodegradable badges and reusable water bottles. Instead of passing out tons of handouts, Portola Hotel and Spa emphasizes more audio-visual options for conveying information to attendees. And if your team is eating at the hotel, their cuisine is local and organic and their take-out food is packaged in sustainable Bio-Pak containers. 

Portola

  • Monterey Conference CenterAdjoining Portola Hotel and Spa, this newly renovated conference center is on track to receive a LEED platinum certification. This means the building is designed specifically to promote renewable, clean energy while also providing a workspace that keeps the health of its occupants in mind. The building contains 33 solar panels on the roof, which goes a long way toward reducing its carbon footprint.  

Monterey Conference Center Entrance

  • InterContinental The Clement Monterey: This local hotel has made recycling a top priority, earning praise from the Monterey Regional Waste Management District. Signage about water conservation is posted in restrooms so your meeting attendees can be aware of the hotel's strategies to help conserve water. Also, energy-saving items across the hotel, like electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot, help attendees have a more green day.

Intercontinental The Clement Monterey

  • Monterey Bay AquariumThis iconic aquarium isn't just an unforgettable setting for a meeting — it's also a sustainable one. The aquarium's mission statement affirms that it is a nonprofit dedicated to "inspiring conservation of the ocean." And it follows through on that mission with food options that place an emphasis on responsible fishing and a commitment to working with suppliers who care about ocean conservation.

Group Event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Between venues that prioritize sustainability and initiatives that help you conduct meetings responsibly, Monterey County is leading the way in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of businesses. So the next time you're planning a meeting, look to Monterey County as a sustainable choice.