Reusing WordCamp lanyards: our badge of honor, or a pain in the neck?

Currently, WordCamp CentralWordCamp Central Website for all WordCamp activities globally. includes a list of upcoming and past camp with links to each. provides lanyards to all WordCamps in the US and Canada who need them, then asks the organizing team to collect the lanyards at the end of WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. and ship them to the next, closest WordCamp on the schedule.

This helps reduce the amount of waste that WordCamps create, which of course minimizes our combined carbon footprint, and makes us all very proud. Unfortunately, this project has faced a few challenges:

  • WordCamp organizers often forget to collect lanyards after the event; it’s frequently the last thing they think about on the “day of.”
  • WordCamp organizers often collect some lanyards, but not very many – best retention is 60%, tops.
  • Shipping lanyards from WordCamp to WordCamp cancels out some of the carbon footprint reduction.
  • Some people think it’s yucky to use a lanyard someone else has already used.
  • This program never grew past the US and Canada, because shipping between WordCamps internationally is really expensive.

So where do we go from here? I’d like to keep providing lanyards to WordCamps, if people agree that’s valuable.

Option A is to buy WordCamps recycled PET lanyards — branded with the WordPress FoundationWordPress Foundation The WordPress Foundation is a charitable organization founded by Matt Mullenweg to further the mission of the WordPress open source project: to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software. Find more on’s logo — in quantities high enough to get us a stellar deal. We could ship out these lanyards in the same package as WordPress swag (buttons, stickers). One advantage here would be that we could then provide lanyards to WordCamps outside the US and Canada, yay! The “yuck factor” would be neutralized, but we could not say that we were in any way reducing the amount of waste created by WordCamps.

Option B is to redouble our efforts to reuse lanyards at WordCamps, and all agree to do better at collecting them at the end of the event. This also doesn’t address the “yuck” factor, but it does reduce the number of lanyards that the WordCamp program generates. This also doesn’t address the issue of non-US and Canada events missing out on this benefit.

Do you have a preferred option, or can you suggest an Option C, D, or E to help us efficiently reduce WordCamp waste? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

#global, #wordcamp, #wordcamps