Zero Waste Event


Reducing and reusing, and then composting and recycling – these are the tools for hosting a “zero” waste event. But how, exactly, do you get started?   Plastic Solutions thanks the dedicated team at  Bainbridge Island Zero Waste for sharing these tips!!

  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.  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 your local processors.  NO COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC SERVICEWARE is a common restriction even at commercial composting facilities.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Recruit station staffers.
    There are two foolproof methods for getting discsards 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 the station, #1 is the better method.

A few tips especially for Rotary Clubs:

  1.  If you use washable tableware for a medium event, and plan to do the dishwashing yourselves,  consider having a “Wash-up Celebration” a day or two after the event.  Make fun and social connections a priority, and turn the work into a “work party!”
  2. Appoint a dedicated team to plan and execute the changes needed to have a Zero Waste goal. Avoid overwhelming the existing organizers.
  3. Train your Waste Station monitors to be smiling, helpful and friendly – the difference between landfill, compost and recycling is not always apparent and differs from place to place… and no one likes to feel stupid.  

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