Sustainability Practices

Each year, the ACS hosts two of the most respected and influential meetings within the scientific community, bringing together more than 20,000 chemistry professionals and students from across the globe. While these annual meetings play a vital role in advancing the chemical industry each year, we also realize that these meetings have real impacts on our planet and communities that must be mitigated.

Take The Greener Meeting Challenge Header

6 Ways you can make your next meeting greener!

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Take advantage of linen reuse initiatives at your hotel, decline delivery of unread newspapers, and turn off the lights when away from your hotel room.

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Use the meeting mobile app and digital program instead of the printed Onsite Program.

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When walking isn't an option, use the ACS carbon-offset shuttle service.


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Responsibly dispose of recyclable materials (paper, plastic, glass, aluminum) in the convention center and hotels.

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Enjoy the city, burn calories, and travel carbon dioxide-neutral by walking to and from your hotel.

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Bring a reusable water bottle to avoid the cost and waste associated with disposable, petroleum-based plastic water bottles.

Previous Winners - Dallas 2014

Thank you to all who participated in the Greener Meetings Challenge! We have learned much from your submissions and your suggestions have given us allot to work on for San Francisco. Although we recieved an amazing response, below are our top 4 entries. Congratulations to all our winners.

Karen Anderson

First Place
Karen Anderson

"I brought a mug for tea and water, carrying it with me to and from sessions; took TRE from Union Station to St. Paul station when it was so bloody cold; came in from DWF on a shared van ride (10 of us); WALKED from Sheraton to Hyatt, Homewood Suites to the Hyatt, and Homewood to the Convention Center MANY times. Used the ACS meeting app. Very cool! Picked up my badge here instead of you all having to mail it to me. In the hotel, we didn’t have sheets or towels changed (for the 3 day stay), in the toilet—let the yellow mellow, placed paper and plastic in the hotel’s recycling bin. Finally will take the TRE to DFW!! Woot!"

Christina Onyskiw

Second Place
Christina Onyskiw

"This year’s ACS National Meeting & Exposition has been more than inspiring. I have always been an active participant in the “Going Green” initiative, and I am more than pleased to see the large amount of publicity ACS has displayed to make Greener Meetings. Not only have I followed all six of the suggested greener tips, I have also displayed some on my own by using the designated charging stations at the Convention Center instead of generating more electricity from my own wall charger, by requesting recruiters and employers from the expo to write their contact information on one page instead of grabbing multiple business cards, and by saving cups from stations such as afternoon treats at the expo for multiple uses. As an undergraduate, my favorite workshop that I have attended was “Chemists Celebrating Earth Day.” Without a doubt, this workshop was extremely informative, fun, and an overall amazing experience. It has inspired me to do more outreach through my student organization and spread the news about Green Chemistry and the Environment. As current vice president and a presidential candidate at the University of Toledo student ACS and as a Chemical and Environmental Engineering, I pledge to implement the use of greener methods in my daily routine and spread the news of the plenty of nonprofit organizations to get involved in, such as Coins for Clean Water, to save the environment."

Jimena Dominguez

Third Place
Maria J. Domínguez

"During the ACS congress held in Dallas, I asked my friends to walk from the hotel every time we could. That way we did not only save gas and money for the taxis but we also enjoyed the view of Dallas downtown. On our first day, we bought sodas in plastic bottles and washed and reused those bottles to carry water around. We downloaded the app and discovered how it was easier to use than the printed books. We decided also to buy food in the supermarket and prepare our meals in the hotel instead of buying it at the congress. We kept all places clean by throwing the trash in its place and we did the best we could not to get our clothes dirty so that we did not need to use the laundry service of the hotel. We bought food that needed no refrigeration so that we did not need the use of the minibar in the hotel and last but not least, we tried to keep the lights of the hotel off most of the time. It was hard to get all this done but it helped us not only enjoy Dallas better but also help the environment. :)"

Katelyn Erickson

Fourth Place
Katelyn Erickson

"I was a participant in creating a greener environment at the National ACS Meeting in Dallas, TX; which due to the ease of the layout that was provided by the convention center and the ACS planning staff, was not hard in the least. Recycling bins were easily located, shuttles were convenient, the mobile meeting app was very well done, and glassware was provided for most water stations so as no to need a disposable water bottle. Out of habit, I also turn my lights off when  exiting my hotel room, as it is a natural tendency. I also took care in figuring out where each of the materials used in the Expo for food consumption and where to deposit them when finished. The signs made it all the more easy to figure out what was compostable and what was not, as well as the materials provided being compostable in the first place."

National Meeting Newsletter

Join the National Meeting newsletter for updates on the San Francisco challenge winners.

Sustainability Practices

  • Hotels. For 2012, we have partnered with Clean the World. The organization collects soap and bottled amenities from ACS hotels and recycles them. The recycled soap will be donated to families in developing countries, helping to save lives by preventing the spread of deadly diseases.
  • Reduced Shuttle Footprint. We’ve consolidated hotel pick up routes, use alternative fuel shuttle buses, and offset all shuttle emissions with our shuttle partner, TMS, through the Carbon Fund.
  • Sustainable Signage. We reduce printing by using existing digital and directional signage, and using reusable ACS easel boards.
  • Zero Waste Awareness. We have designated our Sci-Mix Poster Session a Zero Waste Event. The event is designed to only produce compostable and recyclable waste, which recycling volunteers help attendees to place in the appropriate receptacles to achieve high diversion.
  • Reduced Printing. We work to strategically reduce printing and paper use by strategically determining the print quantities of our meeting program. In 2011, we launched the first electronic version of the program.
  • Reduced Food Waste. We work with our convention center to donate all usable food and leftover materials for the betterment of the local community.

ACS Wins 2011 Green Leader Award

The Capital Chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) recognized ACS national meetings for measurably reducing it environmental impact and contribution towards improving the meetings industry and its communities.

Learn how we did it: See the Infographic. .PDF

Sustainability Reporting

For our 2011 Annual Meetings, the ACS published its first Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Report - the most widely used sustainability reporting framework in the world. The report uses the newly released GRI Event Organizers Sector Supplement.