Event badges: how to reduce single-use waste.

According to our own research 2.14kg of waste is pridcued per attendee per event, this is just under the amount generated by the average UK household per day. The source of this waste likely comes from a variety of sources, including catering, production and often small print items. Even when there is separate recycling on-site, the onward life of these items is in the hands of delegates and thus even though there is recycling on-site it’s up to the delegate’s own conscience if they use it and some items may inadvertently be taken home and end up in general waste.

Therefore coming up with alternative solutions to the waste generated from items where you have less oversight or control of onward life is an important step in the reduction of waste from single-use items such as name badges, maps, leaflets and programmes. 

Looking specifically at name badges, there are a variety of approaches to lessen the impact of waste here. 


Utilise an in-event app to share important information with delegates This has the benefit of being editable for any last-minute programme changes and can also be used for networking. Or for a more traditional lanyard-style name badge, consider using a solution such as Blendology for paperless networking. 

In May 2023 at isla’s flagship event transform at Kew Gardens we saved 1.86kg* of paper by using Blendology OneTap badges instead of printed name badges for 124 delegates. 

“It was great to see the way the Blendology badges encouraged networking and interaction. I loved ‘bumping badges’ with current and new connections and the fact that contact information was transferred automatically, no need for the clunkiness of pen and paper or exchanging not-so-planet friendly paper business cards. A follow-up email from Blendology also made it really easy to access your contacts list post-event. Innovations like Blendology are a sign of the really exciting things to come in the events industry of tomorrow,” Miriam Habtesellasie, MarComms Lead, isla


Consider the material that the name badges are made from and replace the single-use plastic pouch with a durable, recyclable paper option that will still last for multi-day events. This is particularly important considering the upcoming introduction of the single-use plastics ban in England this October. Are there also other ways or creative solutions to the single-use nature of name badges? Perhaps chalkboard badges or wipe clean ensuring that they are reused across different events. 

Also, consider the material of the lanyard. Can you source bamboo or recycled PET for example in order to move away from non-biodegradable materials, such as nylon, with higher environmental impact?


If you’re unable to make physical changes to your name badges, can you consider how to make sure that their onward life is what you intended? Badge recycling points at all of the exits to events can help give you this control and be a prompt to delegates to drop them off before leaving and you to ensure that they are properly separated and recycled, perhaps investing in staff to ensure that delegates hand over their badges before leaving. You may also want to consider designing lanyards or plastic pouches without sponsorship details or event dates so that they can be reused time and again, or at least until an event rebrands. 

How will your delegates network at your next event? 

*Figures from Blendology

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