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!!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Recruit station staffers.
There are two foolproof methods for getting discsards 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.
A few tips especially for Rotary Clubs:
- 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!”
- Appoint a dedicated team to plan and execute the changes needed to have a Zero Waste goal. Avoid overwhelming the existing organizers.
- 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.