Meet Green on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
As the country’s first eco-planned community, Hilton Head Island takes meeting green to a whole new level. With dozens of beautiful stretches of pristine beaches and waters, over 60 miles of public pathways and trails for biking and walking, and thousands of acres of protected wildlife habitats, Hilton Head is already a nature lover’s paradise.
There are now also hundreds of local organizations incorporating eco-friendly considerations in the many stages of their events to minimize any negative environmental impacts. And with millions of dollars being invested in everything from new parks and preservations and beach nourishment projects, to pedestrian pathway expansions and a rowing and sailing center, these impressive numbers quickly add up: Going green in Hilton Head has never been easier or more rewarding.
The Grass is Always Greener Here
Even though we’ve set the bar as the first eco-planned community in the U.S., there’s no resting on our laurels of green here on Hilton Head Island. We are continuously expanding and improving on our sustainable programs and initiatives. Here are just a few of our most recent awards and recognitions in honor of our commitment to the environment.
- Bicycle Friendly Community Silver Level Award
- Heart Safe Community Award
- Parents Magazine Award as the #1 Beach Town in the U.S.
- Participant in Audubon International Sustainable Communities program and Tree City USA
Going Green Is Easy
There are many simple ways to include green practices in your meetings and events on Hilton Head Island. In addition to contacting customer service representatives at each Hilton Head hotel, resort and property to inquire about specific green offerings, here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Use signs that can be re-purposed.
- Ask for recycling bins at your meeting site, and indicate to attendees where they are located.
- Send out meeting materials electronically. This saves time and paper.
- Provide glasses for water instead of plastic bottles.
- Choose reusable nametags and nametag holders. Collect them after each meeting.
- Turn off and unplug all electronic devices after use.
- Invite attendees using electronic invitations and/or set up a website. If you must use paper invitations, print on recycled content paper.
- Consider alternatives to traditional Styrofoam and plastic “to-go” coffee cups and condiments.
- Serve food and snacks that require minimal serving containers.
- Coordinate with the meeting venue to ensure that energy for lights and air conditioning will be turned off when rooms are not in use.
- Offer beverages in containers that are reusable and serve water or other drinks in pitchers.
- Use china and linens to prevent waste or use paper plates, napkins, cups and utensils that are biodegradable or made from recycled material.
- Communicate to your meeting attendees that the meeting is a green meeting, and encourage them to participate in any way they can. Give them suggestions such as turning off their lights and air conditioning when they leave their room, for example.
Did You Know?
- Hilton Head Island was the country’s first eco-planned community.
- Hilton Head Island is one of the only places in the world where dolphins “strand feed”.
- South Carolina has more coastal marshes than any other state in the United States.
- Hilton Head Island’s lights-out program fosters healthy sea turtle nesting.
- Hilton Head Island provides over 60 miles of public pathways and nature trails for both biking and walking.
- Sea Pines Forest Preserve features a 605-acre protected wildlife habitat.
- Bicycles are available for rent all over the Island.
- Sea Pines Resort’s Ocean Course is a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary course.
- Hilton Head Island is the home of the Audubon Newhall Preserve, with 50 acres of pristine forest where native plant life is tagged and identified.
- Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge—nestled between the mainland and the shores of Hilton Head Island—boasts 4,053 acres of various indigenous wildlife and land habitats.