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A Back-of-House Sustainability Site Inspection Checklist

Black-and-white photo of a chef and assistants working in a kitchen.
Photo of Nancy Zavada.
Nancy Zavada. Credit: MeetGreen.

A back-of-the-house tour of an event facility takes you behind the scenes and can help ensure that planned sustainability initiatives are taking place.

Request a tour in advance for both site selection visits and onsite during the actual event, and include the request in your RFP and contract with the facility. 

[Related: 10 Easy Ways to Boost the Sustainability of Your Event]

Use this handy checklist when performing back-of-house site inspections of kitchens, housekeeping service and the loading docks for your meeting or event.


A visit to the kitchen will tell you about the food, how it is being prepared, how it is being served and how food waste is handled. Your observations are critical to the sustainability initiatives and to the staff working diligently to make sure they happen.
■  Food is locally sourced or organic (check produce boxes for origin location)
■  Workers are observing safe food preparation practices
■  Packaging is minimized and condiments are being served in bulk
■  Food waste is being composted
■  Leftover food is being donated to a local food bank

[Related: Have Sustainable Meetings Been Put on the Backburner?]


When touring the sleeping or meeting rooms, check on the sustainable practices in those areas.
■  Environmentally friendly cleaning products are being used
■  Recycling bins are available or waste bins are being sorted for recycling
■  Paper products are made from recycled materials
■  Low-flow toilets and showers are in place
■  Energy-saving lightbulbs and appliances are being used

Related: How Sustainable and Safe Events Practices Can Coexist in a Post-Shutdown Environment]

Loading Dock

Ensure the tour includes the loading dock, as this area is vital to ensuring environmental practices are undertaken. Without seeing the actual work in progress there is no way to verify the data collection.
■  Separate bins (areas) for recycling, landfill, compost and donations
■  Recycling, landfill and compost being correctly sorted
■  Waste collection area is clean and free of debris and potential dangers
■  Vehicles are not idling

Listen: Sustainable Meetings Tips With MeetGreen's Nancy Zavada

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About the author
Nancy J. Zavada | President, MeetGreen

Nancy is a leader and entrepreneur in the events industry focusing on sustainable business practices. She founded MeetGreen in 1994 after beginning her career as a corporate health care planner in 1978.