At LRNow, we have been holding trash free events for several years. The main key is to think through everything carefully before the event. Here is a list of tips:
- Food waste – food waste can be composted. If it is a small event, you may want to use your own composting device or compost system. If it is a larger event, there is an industrial composting facility in Waverly, Virginia, NOPE, Natural Organic Processing Enterprises. This is a link to their website: https://www.nopeva.com/. They will bring you containers for the compostable materials before your event and pick it up after. Because they do large scale industrial composting, they can take meat and dairy items that you will not want to put in your home compost system. There is a charge for NOPE’s services.
- Plates, cups, glasses and other utensils –There are two ways to go here.
- You can use all reusable materials that you wash yourself after your event or you can rent these supplies from any of the tent and party vendors. If you are a faith community that does events often, you may want to ask your members to donate cups, plates, and utensils that they no longer need at home.
- If you use NOPE composting, you can use compostable plates and utensils. Make sure that you check with NOPE before ordering the materials for your party or event so you know they will work in their system.
- Table linens and napkins – At the same party vendor where you rent your glasses, you can rent table linens. The company will deliver them before your event and pick them up after. Paper napkins can be composted if you want to go that way. Again, if you do events often, you may want to purchase reusable table linens.
- Beverages – Use carafes for water, ice tea, coffee, and other beverages. Wine and champagne bottles can be recycled. Kegs are a good way to serve beer as they are cleaned and reused. Aluminum cans are always preferable to plastic bottles.
- Name Tags – purchase reusable name tags and ask people to turn them in at the end of the event.
These are some of the key items. The main thing is to think through everything during the planning of the event. You will feel great when at the end of the event, you are not hauling away bags of trash. At our annual LRNow Oyster Roast, we serve drinks and food for 500 people and we walk away with wine bottles and a few aluminum soda cans to recycle and a ball of duct tape we used to secure some signs. It feels good!