Hosting Your Zero Waste Event

Event Guidelines & Tips

The University of Arkansas hosts many different events throughout the academic year. Some, like Razorbash, are very large, while others are very small, but they all have one thing in common: they all produce waste. The Office for Sustainability would like to see waste diverted from the landfill whenever possible. The University’s goal is that event attendees will come to expect standardized recycling service at events across campus. Below are some tips to help make your event low- or no-waste.

Before the Event

  • Register your event with the Office for Sustainability.
  • Pick up any recycling containers and measuring equipment you will be checking out from the OFS.
  • Make a waste diversion plan (including locations for waste stations, determining who will coordinate and implement the recycling efforts, how materials will be monitored, sorted, transported, measured, etc...).
  • Limit the number of handouts (flyers, giveaways, free samples).
  • Make sure all items purchased for the event are reusable, recyclable, or even compostable.
  • Reduce food waste before it happens:
    • If you know who will be in attendance, inform them that the event is aiming to be zero waste.
      • Encourage guests to bring their own reusable water-bottles and coffee mugs.
      • Ask guests to be conscientious of the food they take. They can always come back for seconds.
    • Offer finger foods to use fewer utensils;
    • Replace plastic bowls with bread bowls (for soup/chili);
    • Use cones for ice cream;
    • Serve foods that don’t require plates (e.g. hotdogs and sweets);
    • Serve drinks that come in a reusable or recyclable container;
    • Purchase bulk products instead of individually packaged condiments, utensils and drinking straws;
    • Reserve lids, straws and napkins as “by request” items;
    • If food is being catered, work with the vendor to implement these strategies.

During the Event

  • Set up your recycling receptacles (See ClearStream Instructions).
  • Make recycling stations highly visible (e.g. signs, balloons, etc...).
  • Use the “salt and pepper” system: recycling and trash receptacles should always be grouped together with clear, large and simply worded signage.
  • Limit the number of trash/recycling bins for easier monitoring.
  • Use clear plastic bags as liners for recycling bins for easy identification and removal of contamination (liquids and food).
  • Place a few empty plastic bottles and cans in recycling containers at the beginning of the event for further visual aid.
  • Have volunteers or staff manage recycling/waste stations at all times, if possible, otherwise assign someone to check each station frequently.

After the Event

  • In order to verify your results, make sure you weigh both your trash and recyclables.
  • Report your results to the OFS.
    • Diversion Rate = Amount Recycled ÷ (Amount Recycled + Amount of Trash) x 100
  • Take your recycling to Razorback Recycling on campus (434 Eastern Avenue, 7:30am to 4:00pm, Monday-Friday).
  • Return your checked out equipment to the OFS at the scheduled drop-off time.
  • Consider the following factors:
    • How long it will take you to weigh the materials?
    • Where you will weigh the materials?
    • How will you transport the waste/recyclables to Razorback Recycling?
    • Will you need volunteers, and if so, how many?

Checking Out Equipment

The Office for Sustainability has ClearStream recycling receptacles (for cans and bottles) and measuring equipment available for checkout. Indicate your equipment needs on the Event Registration Form. Equipment checkout is free of charge and subject to the following policies.

Equipment Checkout Policy

  • All equipment must be checked out in-person; be prepared to provide full contact information of the person checking equipment out.
  • The individual must be a member of the University (i.e. have a University ID) to check out equipment.
  • The maximum equipment loan period is 7 days (unless otherwise noted).
  • Equipment must be returned within 48 hours of the event.
  • Equipment is not available for checkout during semester breaks; we use this time to service and inventory all of our equipment.
  • When you check something out, you assume personal financial liability for the item; do not give it to anyone else.

Equipment Replacement Policy

  • If equipment checked out to you is lost, stolen, or broken, you are responsible for replacing that equipment.