Greening Biennial

The Union for Reform Judaism has a long history of pursuing environmental justice. The 2019 Biennial is committed to minimizing waste and continuing to focus on sustainability. Here are just a few ways we are greening this Biennial:

Man Trying App

Program Book

The 2019 Biennial will not offer a traditional program book. Instead, registrants will be able to download an app for smartphone or tablet. This app will contain all program information, including locations, presenter information, and more.

Inside Greenhouse

Food Sourcing

While most fruits and vegetables will be out of season during Biennial, we have requested that catering be sourced within 100 miles of the Convention Center whenever possible. This extends to proteins, dairy, and in-season vegetables. Locally sourced foods will be highlighted on buffets. We hope you enjoy them!

Glasses of Water

Water Stations, Not Bottles

Whenever possible, Biennial catering will offer flavored water stations instead of single-serve water bottles.


Paper Waste

We are committed to minimizing the use of handouts in Biennial workshops and worship. In place or providing handouts in each session, presenters will be asked to upload their files to The Tent. Worship will be led using visual tefilah instead of paper service packets

Soup Kitchen

Unused food

All uneaten food that hasn’t left the kitchen will be donated daily to local social service agencies to food homeless and food insecure populations in Chicago.



Co-mingled recycling bins are located through the Convention Center and in each meeting room.

Domestic Waste Bin


Whenever possible, we utilize reusable plates, cups, and cutlery. In some cases, the cost and logistics associated with meals make disposables necessary. In those cases, we are proud to offer compostable containers and cutlery.

McCormick Place sorts food waste from compostable plastics and sends each to an appropriate composting facility after our meal functions. You can see this program in action at the “Green Angels” station in the Convention Center food court. A similar process happens behind the scenes after each catered function.