Low-Waste Events

If you host events, you are surely aware of how even a small gathering can generate a lot of waste. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the post-party piles of waste.

Best of all, a low-waste approach saves you money.

Follow these steps to host low-waste events:

  • Rethink food requests. Ask attendees to chip in funds rather than individually-purchased food items.  Group purchases of pizza, pasta or large subs, reduce packaging waste and save time and emissions from everyone stopping by the store.
  • Reusable serving dishes make sense. Having a potluck? Encourage guests to bring items in reusable serving dishes rather than disposable containers. This will reduce waste and encourage guests to take home the leftovers.
  • Skip bottles and cans. Instead of individual bottles or cans, use reusable dispensers or pitchers. If you are buying soda, purchase larger, recyclable bottles. Either way, offer reusable cups or glassware if you have enough. (Use a dry-erase marker, charms or little stickers to label cups and glassware.)
  • Ditch the disposable coffee box. Make coffee and serve it in a washable dispenser. Buy from local coffee houses, like Small World in Princeton — they sell coffee in reusable containers. Offer a variety of reusable mugs or make it a BYO event. Skip plastic stirrers and use washable spoons or dried spaghetti — it’s compostable.
  • Reconsider dessert. There’s nothing better than homemade brownies, so skip the popsicles wrapped in plastic and bring baked goods with a smaller footprint. If you’re buying goodies from a local baker, bring a reusable tray or container for transport.
  • Serve sustainable snacks. Keep it simple with items that can be served on a napkin. Go bulk and stay away from individually packaged items. If you need individually-packaged items, ensure the wrappers go to an acceptable Terracycle ® collection.
  • Forego cutlery and plates. Serve finger foods so you can skip the added costs (to your pocket and the planet). When they are needed, stick with reusable products that can be washed for future use.
  • Sort it properly. During the event, ensure you have collecting bins available for recycling, compost (if available) and landfill. Make sure signs are clear and locate all three bins together, so guests are encouraged to sort.

Helpful Hints

  • Need coffee? Small World Coffee sells its brew in a returnable dispenser (it’s cheaper than a box too).
  • Serving water? We have a few 5-gallon water dispensers to loan for your next event — just let us know.
  • Need supplies? We can help with waste-sorting at your next event. Educational materials, bin signs, reusable gloves, aprons, and trash grabbers are all available for loan. Contact us for more information.

Did You Know?

  • Looking for durable dishware for your events? Check out Preserve cups, plates and cutlery. They are dishwasher safe, BPA and melamine free, and made in the USA from 100% recycled materials — including old yogurt cups and toothbrushes.
  • There’s a collection for that. As you plan events, consider the type of waste you will generate and prioritize those that can be upcycled through Terracyle®, including drink pouches, chip bags, and bar wrappers. 
  • Reduce trash, not ideas. One study showed that about 2.5 pounds of waste are generated by party-goers every day.
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