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Let Zero Waste Help Plan Your Event!

How to Organize and Run a Low-waste Event

The goal:  Keep discards to a minimum (reduce & reuse), and send what discards there are back into a production cycle (recycle & compost) instead of to a dead-end landfill.  

Tips to achieve that goal:

1. Control what is used. 
First...think reduction.  Eliminate non-essentials when feasible, such as lids, straws, packaging, tablecloths, etc.
Second...think reuse.  Supply washable tableware when possible.  Utensils are especially easy to clean.  Email to find out where to borrow 250+ nonmatching sets of forks, knives and spoons.  Also, consider having participants bring their own reusable tableware.
With bite-sized portions and finger foods, food waste and tableware are significantly minimized.
Third...think recycle/compost.  VERY IMPORTANT: Every jurisdiction accepts different materials for recycling and composting.*  Contact to make sure what you are using can be recycled or composted by Bainbridge Disposal's processors.  NO COMPOSTABLE (cornstarch) PLASTIC UTENSILS OR COMPOSTABLE CLEAR CUPS can go in Bainbridge's collection. (Use plastic clear cups with a #1 recycling symbol instead.)

2. Place landfill/recycling/compostables collection bins together. Eliminate any stand-alone containers. If there is a stand-alone immovable trash can and it is impractical to put the recycling and compost containers next to it, then cover the trash can's opening to keep it from being used.
3. Minimize sorting mistakes. Visual clues are best.  Try to display the actual items that go in each container, using clothespins, tape or Velcro.  Also, post clear signage stating what goes in each container.
4. Recruit station staffers.  There are two foolproof methods for getting discards into the right containers:
1) In addition to signage and visual displays, post an ambassador by each set of containers to help people sort accurately or
2) Plan on checking the containers intermittently and re-sorting as contamination occurs. 
If there is a continuous flow of persons using a station, #1 is the better method. 

* BI Zero Waste judges products to be legitimately compostable if they are fiber-based and they appear on Cedar Grove's list of approved compostable products: