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How to host a Zero Waste Event – PART I

From weddings to professional meetings, any gathering can be turned into a zero waste event. Large or small, personal or corporate, they are a lot more easy that I would have thought it could be. My organization recently hosted an event with my co-workers and the way they cut on anything that generates trash was too inspiring for me not to write a post on the matter.

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No disposable plates, utensils, no plastic cups… 

The hardest thing when planning a waste-free event is probably the number of habits we have to break down and divert from. Overall, a zero-waste event is just like any other type of event. It doesn’t matter if you want to host a barbecue, a company gathering, a music festival or a birthday party! It all comes down to understanding how we usually do things and set up a system that avoids falling in the “trash trap”.



Offer your guests tap water. It can be up to 200 times more expensive to use plastic bottles and the quality of the water in plastic bottles has been proven to go through less control than tap water. On top of it, plastic bottles often leak micro particules of plastic in your water. Best to avoid it. Instead, use a fountain system or glass bottle that you will refill throughout the event.

If you’re not sure of the quality of the water, look into a filtering system. From carafes to faucet filter to activated charcoal sticks, you will find a right option based on the amount of guest.


Make sure you take the necessary actions to avoid wasting food. Either by calling a local non profit to come collect the left over or by prepping doggy bags for the guests.

Reusable dishes, cups & cutely

One great creation of waste will be the dishes and the cups your guests use. Avoid using disposable material and opt for reusable ones. You can decide whether you want to rent or buy depending on how often you make them.


Events are very wasteful (shocking right..?) Some large and international event can generate up to 70 pound of trash per attendee!!! Many will create large and sumptuous decors for that unique occasion. Yet a great and effective way to  avoid unnecessary waste is to rent the decor or buy second hand.


Contact the local waste management company

If the location in which you’re organizing your event doesn’t have recycling and composting bins, contact the city hall or the local waste management company directly to ask them about renting bins for the event. Ideally, you’ll want a compost bin, a recycling bin, a glass bin if you think is needed and a landfill bin.

Offer A Clear Recycling System

You want to make it inviting for your guests that you have a clear and easy recycling system. Prep 4 or 5 different types of bins (depending on what is made possible with the local waste You want to make sure the regular trash bin is named “landfill.” That word seems to have a dissuasive effect on people who more often than none will look at other options before putting their waste in the trash bin.

Beyond the basics of your event, you want to make sure you cover every aspects (most polluting aspects of it) to do that there’s nothing more effective than the power of lists! 😉

Make a list

One of the first thing you’ll want to do it create a list of all the things you want to have during your event. Will there be drinks? If yes, you’ll need to list all the types of drinks and whether or not you will need cups. Food? Then list the type of foods you’ll want and the containers you need to hold them, etc. Next, to this column, you’ll create a second column in which you’ll write down the waste-free option. A final column to monitor what has been done and what hasn’t should help you monitor how much is left to do.

Example: Cups => Reusable cups (rent or own) // Beer => Rent a reusable beer barrel…

sheet zero waste event

Ask the Community

Check Facebook, Instagram, or any other platforms to find ways to organize a successful zero waste event in your area. The community is always available to help and share valuable tips. I recently shared a question related to reducing waste at my best friend’s wedding, and was amazed by the helpful responses I received. As you can see from the comments in this post, I received few but always on point ideas from individuals and businesses. They helped us find eco-conscious alternatives to made that day perfect.

🙏Zero-waste community👋 I NEED YOUR HELP!! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ My friend is getting married soon and as her maid of honor, I would like to bring some sustainable decor and elements to the celebration. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Doing tons of research but wanted to ask the community: do you have any tips on zero waste wedding to share or direct me to? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thank you for them in advance!!! 😘 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #agreenerlife #sustainableevents #sustainablewedding #zerowastewedding #zerowastelife #zerowastelifestyle #sustainable #wedding #diy #lookingforideas #greenevent #gogreen #greenwedding #oregon

Une publication partagée par Dina – A Greener Life🌿 (@dina_leroux) le 6 Juin 2018 à 8 :02 PDT

A Second part of this topic to come with a focus on toilets, composting, energy and communication. If you enjoyed this post feel free to share it on your favorite social media and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to received tips, my latest posts and exclusive discounts on the greener shop!

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