The goal of a “zero” waste event is to keep discards to a minimum by first reducing and reusing, then by recycling and composting. Keep reading for proven methods on achieving this goal.
Tips for achieving a zero waste goal
1. Control what is used.
- Reduce: Eliminate non-essentials when feasible, such as lids, straws, packaging, tablecloths, etc.
- Reuse: Supply washable tableware when possible. Utensils are especially easy to clean. Use our Tableware Lending Library to borrow what you need. Also, consider having participants bring their own reusable tableware. With bite-sized portions and finger foods, food waste and tableware are significantly minimized.
- Recycle and/or compost: VERY IMPORTANT — Every jurisdiction accepts different materials for recycling and composting. Make sure what you are using can be recycled or composted by Bainbridge Disposal’s processors.* NO COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC SERVICEWARE can go in Bainbridge Disposal’s yard waste (compost).
* Check here for accepted recyclables. Use this list for acceptable compostable items EXCEPT FOR COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC ITEMS — they are not allowed by Bainbridge’s compost processor. If you still have questions, please contact us.
2. Place landfill/recycling/compostables collection bins together.
- Eliminate any stand-alone containers.
- If there is a stand-alone 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.
- In addition, post clear, concise signage stating what goes in each container.
4. Recruit station staffers.
There are two foolproof methods for getting discards into the right containers:
- In addition to signage and visual displays, post an ambassador by each set of containers to help people sort accurately or
- Plan on checking the containers intermittently and re-sorting as contamination occurs.
If there is a continuous flow of persons using the station, #1 is the better method.
Zero Waste manages the discard stations at certain events each year.
To help us out — no training required! — check the “Get Involved” page to find out what and when events occur.
Zero Waste Event Assistance
BI Zero Waste wants to help organizations and event planners be self-supporting in their efforts to send as little as possible to the landfill. After reading the above section, if you still have questions about planning the event, contact us.* Zero Waste may be able to help you
- identify number, type and location of bins
- assess the number of station monitors required and equipment needed (we can loan supplies, such as grabbers, buckets and signs)
- provide monitoring education (differentiating what is recyclable and compostable) and sources of compostable serving ware
* Depending on the level of our involvement, ZW always appreciates any donation to help defray our expenses and/or to support sustainability-related projects within the community.
Please be aware that, according to state law RCW 70.93.093, recycling must be provided and recycled properly at events where bottled and canned drinks are sold.