A Zero Waste Approach to Our Community Conversations

What is Zero Waste?

The financial and environmental costs for waste disposal from typical events can be costly. Events generate a lot of waste, from food and beverage waste to packaging and paper products. Planning an event as a Zero Waste event to reduce its environmental impact which entails recycling, reusing, or composting as many as possible of the materials used, can be done through careful planning.  The Green Team’s first Community Visioning Event will be a designated Zero Waste event with a goal of reducing, reusing or recycling up to 80% of the waste.

Principles of Zero Waste

Eliminate waste at its source.  Our Community Conversations will be run on the following principles.  We will:

  • choose products that use less packaging.
  • buy items in bulk.
  • reuse what we can.
  • eliminate unnecessary items.

This entails careful planning ahead of time to determine the materials that are “unsustainable,”  i.e. that end up in the landfill most frequently. We will try to either avoid or ban them in the events. This could include items like plastic bags and wraps, single use plastic water bottles and Styrofoam.  So you will see the following:

Elimination of Waste at its source:

  • We will avoid single use containers where we can.  E.g.
    • We will use small pitchers of milk/cream instead of individual creamers
    • We will not use individual packets of sweeteners.
    • Condiments will be offered in bulk
  • Any leftover food will be donated to an organization yet to be determined.
  • We will use compostable or reusable cups, utensils and plates.
  • We will provide pitchers of drinks such as water and juice instead of individual plastic bottles or cans and instead provide compostable or reusable cups.
  • Even better, we ask that event attendees bring their own “to go” cups with them.

Collection of Event Waste

  • A clearly labeled Resource Recovery, aka Waste Sorting, Station will be set up including collection bins for all types of recyclable items, organic and compostable items and the little waste that cannot be recycled.  We will ask for your help during the event to make sure that it is used to maximize its usefulness.

Proper Disposal of Event Waste

  • At the end of the day collected materials will be disposed of according to Zero Waste Principles.
    • Materials that can be recycled will be taken to proper recycling drop off locations.
    • Materials that can be composted will be taken to the Ewing Community Gardens Composting Stations.
    • Leftover food will be donated.
  • Check back here after the event to see a report on the success of our Zero Waste effort.

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