News | December 20, 2018

Reducing Waste for Green Meetings at Las Vegas Sands

As leaders in sustainability, Las Vegas Sands takes its global sustainability strategy and focuses it into four key pillars: green buildings, environmentally responsible operations, stakeholder engagement, and green meetings and events. We leverage our knowledge, research, and support from our Team Members and executives to continue our journey to a more sustainable future. As we cater to the both the business and leisure travelers alike within our Integrated Resorts we are able to offer unique experiences, especially within our MICE sector.

Sustainable meeting and event options through our ECO360 program, supports forward-thinking clients in making their event environmentally friendly. From the food served to the materials used for set up, our teams have found a way to incorporate sustainable elements. With the constant flow of materials traveling in and out of the conference space, our Integrated Resorts have discovered how to prolong the use of these items through several recycling initiatives.

Marina Bay Sands strives to put sustainability at the heart of all operations by engaging and educating Team Members on green practices. Team Members are trained in proper waste management practices including separation, measurement, and disposal. Their catering and conference teams work closely with clients to advise them on how they can further incorporate sustainability into their green meetings.

They collect wood waste from expo booths; paper waste from brochures and flyers; plastic waste from packaging, beverage, etc.; carton waste from packaging; and glass bottles from banquets to be recycled. They have progressed from providing recycling bins for meeting spaces collecting paper, plastic, cans, and glass to collecting used cooking oil from MICE kitchens to convert to biodiesel fuel. The team also collects floral waste to be recycled with horticultural waste and does off-site sorting of recyclables from their Expo events, targeting events with larger quantities of recyclables.

Marina Bay Sands also donates food and furniture leftover from events to local charities. Bread and pastries leftover from breakfast events are donated to a nonprofit organization called Food from the Heart. The team uses different colored bins designated for food waste to collect until the food donations are taken to a local food bank by blast freezing unserved leftover food.

Marina Bay Sands has also found ways to reduce single-use signage and increase their reusability. Additional digital screens were added to the MICE space to allow event organizers to opt out of single-use signage. The team looks to reduce waste by finding ways to reuse frequently used signage and recycle outdated marketing collateral including sales brochures, posters, and banners. The property also uses magnetic wall signage for internal use so they are removable and reusable.

When it comes to leftover signage, Sands Expo and The Venetian Resort Las Vegas team have found a few different ways to extend its lifespan. A majority of the remaining sign material is made of foam or vinyl. The boards are typically donated through the Teacher’s Exchange program that turns them over to schools to be used for projects including art displays or props, which they can then paint over with a solid color and create a blank canvas. With the help of The Venetian’s floral team, the leftover vinyl signage is sent to a local company to repurpose into multipurpose handbags with unique patterns that are easy to clean.

“The sustainability donation program does more than work with our community partners and reduce waste, this is also a very convenient service solution to our exhibitors and corporate guests that wish to just walk away from their small furniture and booth items that would otherwise be costly to ship cross country or overseas. They can now leave knowing that the items they left behind will not be wasted and will be donated to those in need,” Lorraine Kalayanaprapruit, facilities and sustainability manager at Sands Expo, said.

Kalayanaprapruit takes the time during each show to walk the floors and seek out items that are typically left behind. She also talks with exhibitors about their recycling program. By doing this, she hopes to reduce the weight of waste leaving the property and going into landfills. She notes that working closely with the show cleaning team has helped them collaborate on new and efficient ways to divert waste as much as possible. She attributes a great part of the success to their team.

“I feel by sharing the program with our Sands Expo Team Members and giving the details of stories of past donations and food rescued, we’ve shown our Team Members what is possible and I know it’s motivating them to look for new ways to do more,” she said.

Similar to Marina Bay Sands, the Sands Expo team in Las Vegas seeks out partners to help their goal to reduce waste from conferences. Show bags, lanyards, office supplies, promotional items, furniture, bottled water, and non-perishables are some of the preferred donation items that the team distributes to a network of charities.

“The only way this program is possible and has been successful is by the continued collaboration and communication across departments,” she said. “I work very closely with our Sands Expo food and beverage, culinary, show cleaning, security, and facilities teams; and The Venetian’s recycling dock, housekeeping, catering and conference management, stewarding, sign shop, and of course Pranav and The Venetian sustainability team. I have a big army behind me supporting the program.”

Recycling in the conference space is no different at Sands properties in Macao. What started out as just focusing on paper and plastic materials, has now expanded into recycling abilities that include metal and glass. Over the years, their teams were able to find recyclable value in additional materials ranging from stage props, signage, decoration fixtures, and kitchens. Their convention and exhibition teams now collect paper, plastic, metal, and bottle materials after each event and prepare them for pickup by their recycler.

“At the beginning it was a bit difficult,” Meridith Beaujean, director of sustainability at Sands China Ltd., said. “But along the years, people have started to consider more and more of a valued concept within their work, education, and values which contributed to the growing of sustainable living, not just within the company but also to each of our Team Members’ lives.”

Some of the property’s largest events including corporate annual meetings like Google, refreshment training meetings such as Herba Life, and several awards ceremonies, forums, and fairs have been known to produce so much usable material that can be recycled or repurposed. The teams are also able to track and measure their efforts, as well as share their results to their clients by request.

“Some of the recyclables are reused by other departments including housekeeping, floral, and HR, in their daily operations as well as in their department design and decoration,” Beaujean said. “At the same time, it helped us to be more organized in terms of waste management, which saved our team’s effort and time at the end of the day.”

waste reducing activities by las vegas sands