WASHINGTON — At the 2014 ASAE Springtime Expo, a panel of experts took the stage to myth-bust a few factors that may discourage meeting planners from creating green meetings.

Kristen Clarke, the director of the Convene Green Alliance, along with Bridget Chisholm from the International Leadership Association and Cheryl Wallen from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums gave these five myth-busting tips when it comes to "going green" at your next event.

Myth 1: Green meetings cost more

Skeptics of this myth think that because they are going green, it's automatically going to cost them more.

To make sure that costs are low, ASAE suggests talking to your supplier. For example, the tote bags that were given out at the expo were made from reusable material. ASAE obtained those bags by talking to their vendor about how much they wanted to spend on the bags and how they could remain environmentally friendly.

Another example would be using locally-sourced food for your F&B. Going local cuts down on costs for things such as transportation; it also allows chefs to take advantage of less expensive in-season pricing on ingredients. In addition, a potential new relationship can be built between your organization and a local food source.

Myth 2: Green meetings are hard to organize.

Organizing any meeting can be a huge hassle. If you're having problems with planning, simply reach out to your partners in regard to planning a green event — e.g., the venue at which you are planning to have your meeting.

Many places already have green initiatives in place. By reaching out to these contacts, they can help you plan out your meeting and answer any questions you may have in ways to go green.

Myth 3: My attendees/vendors/exhibitors don't care how environmentally sustainable our meetings are.

The meetings and events industry is the second most-wasteful sector in the U.S., the first being the construction industry.

According to an ASAE Convene Green Alliance Survey to their members in 2013, 64 percent of responders thought that going green was important when it came to planning meetings. That's something to think about when it comes to planners' booking decisions

Myth 4: Our association is small. We can't make much of a difference by going green.

Small and large associations are the same when it comes to setting up a meeting. When submitting an RFP for a green trend — Does the convention center have recycling? Is there light-rail transportation to get attendees to and from during the duration of the meeting? — won't make or break your meeting. In fact, it will provide you with a checklist of what to look for before making an onsite visit.

Small meetings are a fast-growing trend. According to Successful Meetings' 2013 Small Meeting Trend Report, 62.4 percent of respondents would host their meetings in conference centers, while 58.6 percent would host their meeting at a resort. The survey also found that most venues already have ongoing sustainability strategies implemented.

Myth 5: I don't know what's green, and I don't have time to learn it.

You don't have to be a "know-it-all" when it comes to sustainable meeting planning. The only way to learn is to reach out to others. Reach out to your caterer or to printing staff. Industries such as technology and travel have moved toward being more sustainably sound in the past few years.

Providing electronic copies of handouts instead of having attendees print out material is one way to do so. Having a meeting in a major metropolitan area such as Washington D.C., where there are other means of transportation such as Metro is another way of going green.

What is your association doing to move forward with planning green meetings? Is it "stuck" because they fall behind one of the "myths" listed above, or are you already ahead of the game?