Zero Waste Is Not Waste Management – It Is Resource Management
A bit of a misnomer, “Zero Waste” doesn’t just involve diverting as much organic and solid waste out of landfills and back into reusable materials. Eco-Cycle defines Zero Waste as “redesigning our entire cycle of resource extraction, consumption and discard management so no resources are wasted at any point along the way.” These efforts are designed to directly target environmental impacts like climate change, air pollution, and scarcity of precious resources. Some interpret the term “Zero” as more of a lofty goal than an actionable plan, which is why municipalities set attainable goals of reducing waste by 90% or more.
Legislation in these cities helps landfill diversion by setting up mandatory composting for businesses and residents, and expanding recycling centers to accommodate more materials.
The commitment to be zero waste begins with you. At your next event, consider ways to minimize the environmental impact. Start with eco-friendly compostable disposable materials made from renewable resources like plant starch.
But what good is supplying 100% certifiably compostable materials if your guests don’t put know which bin to put them in? (And trust us, they won’t.)
The tough part about going zero waste is just how confusing the whole topic of sustainability is. For example, did you know that most products made from recycled content aren’t in fact, recyclable? Or did you know that new Ingeo™ Bioplastic looks and feels like plastic, but it’s actually compostable? Despite our best attempts at doing the right thing, sometimes it’s too difficult to know what goes where.
Follow these tips for a successful Zero Waste Event:
1. Source compostable products
It all starts here, right? Get products that are 100% certifiably compostable and require all event participants (if you’re hosting a large, multi-restaurant event) to use the same products. We’re a big fan of Eco-Products’ large selection of compostable disposables. You can also check out our Eco-Friendly Specialty shop for more environmentally-friendly products.
2. Make compostable bins the largest and most prominent option
Theoretically, if everything at your event is 100% certifiably compostable, then there should be no need for a trashcan in sight! Still, there are some oddball items that guests may wish to throw away. Make your compostable bin (like this compostable Rubbermaid Green Slim Jim® bin) large and in charge (so-to-speak) so guests know that this is where plates, cutlery, excess food and other compostable items go. If a trashcan is a must, then place a smaller, black one nearby (but not next to) the compostable bin.
3. Create signs with pictures of the disposables being used at the event
This is by the far the easiest thing you can do with the maximum benefit—but I can’t tell you how many events I’ve been to and found this lacking! Print a sign featuring the compostable cups, tasting plates, flatware, etc. and place the sign above your compostable bin. People are visual beings, and a simple picture communicates more in a few seconds than a 100 words could. It’s a no brainer!
4. Get volunteers to be your “sustainability police.”
If you’re hosting an event with all-you-can-eat drinks and bites, you can almost expect your guests to lose their ability to make informed, correct decisions towards the end of the event. Sure, it’s not the most fun job in the world, but volunteers will help make sure products are placed in the appropriate bins.
5. Download our handy Zero Waste Flyer
Our Zero Waste Flyer helps you decode all of those eco-friendly materials that are compostable or made from recycled content, and help you navigate the complex world of sustainability.