Gen Con – the largest table top gaming convention in North America – is expected to have more than 60,000 attendees playing hundreds of games over four days.
The heavy foot traffic can bring with it a lot of trash.
“When you get so many people together in a place like this and you see how much waste is actually generated, it’s pretty eye-opening,” says Gen Con President David Hopp.
This year, the convention is rolling out increased recycling efforts to reduce the convention’s carbon footprint.
Some include reduced pages in the program books, electronic ticketing, and repurposing former Gen Con banners into bags and wallets. There’s also the initiative to address all the packaging from new games that gets discarded, from saran wrap to cardboard and plastic.
"Unboxing Stations" have been set up in a couple of locations for gamers to be able to recycle unwanted packaging.
“People can go and open up their games, put all their packaging into appropriate recyclable containers and then just take the parts that they want to go back with them and the rest of that gets recycled,” says Hoppe.
Deanna Davis, from Dayton, Ohio, is a 10 year Gen Con veteran. She stopped by one of the stations and recycled a few pieces of cardboard that had the game pieces punched out.
“I like that it’s next to the library where new games are unpackaged probably more frequently and I think it’s clever; I like it,” says Davis.
Hoppe plans to continue reducing the carbon footprint.
“Over the years we’re doing a small number of electronic tickets now,” he says. “I’d like to get that down to where like 90 percent of all our ticketing and even our badging is done electronically, that would be the idea.”
There is also an app in the works that Hoppe hopes to have available next year to get one step closer to an all-electronic system.