Zero Waste Community Event Toolkit

Pre-Event

Zero Waste Policies

Tips

Your event may already have a commitment to the environment or “greening” in its mission statement or organizational plan. Ideally, this will be the case and adding a zero waste policy will be the icing on the cake. If your event organization does not have environmental objectives, this is your chance to make a difference! A zero waste policy is a broad-level statement of commitment from which specific actions to reduce waste can flow. Your zero waste policy can be the statement that guides the actions in your zero waste action plan. You can also develop a series of policies that target specific problem materials or activities.

Your zero waste policy should be endorsed by the event organization initially, and then signed or endorsed by the sponsors, vendors and contractors associated with the event. The policy should be developed early in your planning process. Ideally, it should be part of the presentation you make to your event organization Board of Directors and/or planning committee when you are first trying to sell the idea of a zero waste event [see Getting Started With Zero Waste module]. This way, the event organization members will have a good understanding upfront of what the zero waste goals are for the event and have the opportunity to provide input into the policy.

Your organization will likely want to decide for itself what its zero waste policy will be. But if you need a little help getting started, check out the model zero waste policy in our toolbox.

Action Checklist

Related Tools

  • Prepare a zero waste policy for your event that will:
    • Set a target date for achieving zero waste (e.g., within 5 years)
    • Commit to waste minimization until the target can be reached
    • Be written in plain language
    • Be inspirational to the event planning committee
    • Be communicated to event stakeholders
  • Communicate your zero waste policy to everyone involved in the event (e.g., staff, volunteers, waste diversion service providers, vendors, public) and post it publicly
  • Include your zero waste policy in contracts/agreements with vendors, suppliers and sponsors

Global Best Practice

BANNING “PROBLEM” MATERIALS

At the Harmony Festival in Sonoma County, CA, one of the zero waste policies includes prohibiting the sale of single-use water bottles, which can make up a significant portion of waste at outdoor festivals. Instead, free water stations are provided.  EarthFest in Knoxville, TN has a policy that bans polystyrene from being used by vendors at the event, since it is not recyclable in the area.

www.harmonyfestival.com

www.knox-earthfest.org


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Your organization will likely want to decide for itself what its zero waste policy will be. But if you need a little help getting started, check out the model zero waste policy in our toolbox.

Zero Waste Policies