Portola Hotel & Spa unveiled a new way to incorporate sustainable and eco-friendly practices into meetings and events with Reduce Waste Conferences.

The 379-key property, Monterey’s first U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Certified Hotel, has long implemented environmentally conscious efforts. This new Reduce Waste Conferences program adds even more green initiatives to the hotel's current efforts and also asks for commitments from meeting planners and conference attendees.

“Reduced Waste Conferences are a great way to communicate to meeting attendees the importance to conserve natural resources,” said Janine Chicourrat, general manager at Portola Hotel. “We partner with the meeting planners to implement a variety of green practices, and we are able to communicate to attendees how they can contribute.

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"A great example of this is offering reusable aluminum can water bottles instead of plastic bottles," she added. "We host groups of over 1,000 attendees, so the reduction of plastic water bottles over a three-day event can be in excess of 4,000 bottles.”

Meeting Planner Reduced Waste Conference Commitment:

  • Confirm menu selections with your Catering & Conference Services Manager 14 days prior to conference start date to allow for proper selection and purchase of products.
  • Use of biodegradable badges and conference materials or reuse badges offering an opportunity to return conference badge for future use.
  • Use of audiovisual equipment for presentations opposed to printed handouts.
  • Educate and encourage attendees to participate in sustainability practices while at the conference (such as reusable water bottles).

Portola Hotel & Spa Reduced Waste Conference Commitment:

  • Create awareness about the Reduced Waste Conference to attendees through Passkey/Group Reservation System and key packets at check-in.
  • Environmentally friendly vendor and exhibit company suggestions.
  • Source organic and sustainable ingredients from local farmers and vendors throughout Monterey County and keep compost on the farm, which reduces the carbon footprint.
  • Utilization of china, glassware, and silverware replacing the use of to-go cups.
  • Track daily waste diverted by the Kitchen, Housekeeping, and Banquet departments.
  • Composting of pre- and post-consumer waste.
  • Additional assistance provided by Banquets to separate recyclable and compostable materials from going to the landfill.
  • Post-meeting recap including waste diverted from landfill, list of local farmers and purveyors where food was sourced, and carbon footprint analysis to be provided via email by the Catering & Conference Services Manager.

Portola Hotel & Spa features more than 60,000 square feet of indoor space with the adjacent Monterey Conference Center. There is also over 60,000 square feet of outdoor space, including 28,750 square feet at the Lower Custom House which has capacity for 1,500 guests.

Monterey Conference Center Went Green With Its Refresh

Last year, the Monterey Conference Center completed a two-year, $60 million renovation that turned the 40-year-old facility into a LEED-certified venue.

The city’s commitment to sustainability with its Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Policy, which includes the Green Building Ordinance, free recycling, the Commercial Food Scrap Collection Program and plastic bag bans, furthered the Monterey Conference Center’s dedication to making Monterey an environmentally sustainable community.

The facility offers over 40,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 19,150-square-foot Serra Ballroom that can accommodate up to 2,000 attendees.

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