VASHON GREEN EVENT TIPS
BY ZERO WASTE VASHON and collaborators, Feb 2020
PDF file: Vashon Green Event Advice Feb2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. HOME EVENTS
3. COMMUNITY EVENTS
4. ZERO WASTE EVENTS
APPENDIX 1. SUSTAINABILITY PERSPECTIVES
APPENDIX 2. DIANE EMERSON’S VASHON RECYCLING SYSTEM
8. REFERENCES & SOURCES
Question: Why plan a green event?
Answer: To conserve resources, reduce landfill waste, and demonstrate a commitment
to preserving a sustainable quality of life for Vashon and our world. Further,
you will educate the community and event-goers by providing a waste reduction
model for others to follow.
Every year, thousands of tons of recyclable or otherwise usable items such as
organic materials (including food waste) are unnecessarily taking up vital landfill
space in King County, the greater Puget Lowlands and elsewhere, and generating
methane gas, a greenhouse gas, by not being properly processed. Community
events can generate large volumes of empty bottles, cans, and plastic cups
that can easily be recycled. By encouraging sustainability and alternatives to
single use items, using water filling stations, and developing recycling systems
at events, it is possible to reduce waste, help extend the life of our landfills, and
thereby improve the environment. The purpose of this is to provide advice and
resources for event recycling and compost management on Vashon Island and
elsewhere in King County, WA. In addition, we have also included our guidance
on holding a “zero waste” event. A short summary of sustainability perspectives
and related issues can be found in Appendix 1, and the section 6. glossary defines
Zero Waste Vashon adheres to the Global Waste Hierarchy commonly referred
too as the 5 R’s – Rethink, Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, and Recycle.
Waste prevention and Reduction are at the top of the hierarchy and are the
most favorable solutions because they minimize the generation of waste products.
Prevention and reduction have the least environmental and economic life
cycle costs as they eliminate collecting or processing materials. Reuse is the
second most desirable option, involving using materials again and again without
any structural change. Reusing materials can require collection but little or no
processing. The third level, recovery of waste, is separated into 2 categories:
materials and energy. Recovery of materials includes recycling and composting,
generally requiring a collection system and a method of material processing
or conversion into a new product. Recovery of energy typically involves incineration
and the production of ash. Final disposal in a landfill is always a last resort,
and should only be considered once all other possibilities have been fully
explored. The last in the hierarchy and least favorable is landfill disposal, although
some pre-treatment may be necessary, depending on the presence of
hazardous materials in the mix.
2. Home Events
(please note this section is necessarily short as our focus is on community
events; the reader is referred to oneglassjar.com, Siobhan McComb’s zero waste
2.1 Self Organized
Try and prevent food waste in advance of the event by learning the best methods
for preparing and storing fruits and vegetables, and asking friends to bring
containers or provide them for leftovers. Instead of using disposable tableware,
serve food on real, reusable/washable dishware, flatware, and use cloth instead
of paper napkins. If needed, borrow dish sets and utensils from friends or
Vashon’s No-Trash-Stash at Karen Biondo’s Farm, or go to Granny’s for a special
In selecting a Catering company to provide food and beverages for your home
event, it is critical to engage early on to understand the catering companies’
standard practices and clearly define expectations regarding waste handling,
dishware, recycling, and relaxed issues.
3. Community Events
During the initial phases of event planning, discuss your environmental commitment
and formulate a suitable goal statement, such as: “We are committed to
reducing the environmental impact of this event and supporting sustainability,
which is aligned with this organization’s core values.”
Event leaders and staff must be committed to making sustainability a priority
and understand that environmental issues such as litter and air pollution impact
guest experience and the overall quality of the event. Begin by making a formal,
written commitment to the key sustainability goals and publicize this information
on your event website to educate guests during the event with maps, posters,
banners, and announcements so they can contribute to a successful event.
Encourage guests to take these and related actions to participate in your event’s
1. Walk, bike, carpool, or bus to the event.
2. “Bring your Own” cups, napkins, plates, utensils, and reusable water bottles
(use water-filling stations), etc.
3. Recycle clean & dry cans, plastic bottles and paper/cardboard
4. Compost food waste and use compostable containers (?), if present. Do not
compost liquids, remove if present.
5. Prevent litter by never overfilling trash or recycling containers.
Vashon residents have access to curbside recycling service at home, and can
also use the Vashon Recycling and Transfer Station (VRTS, operated by King
County), and are accustomed to having recycling options available. Many
Vashon residents feel a strong moral obligation to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Implementing recycling for the first time will likely require additional effort, but
will become routine with experience. Depending on the size and type of event
you are planning, adding recycling to your event can be accomplished without
incurring much additional cost and effort using available resources on
The following simple steps will help you successfully recycle at your next
3.1. Step 1: Identify your waste stream: What is a recyclable resource?
What is trash? What potential trash can be prevented by substituting washable
flatware, tableware, napkins, etc.? Can you ask participants to bring their own
flatware, utensils, water bottles, cups and napkins and even pack out their own
waste (as long as you can be assured they dispose of it properly)?
The Vashon Transfer Station has updated flyers available describing all acceptable
materials. Acceptable compostable materials are available on the Cedar
Grove Compost Facility website. Work with the vendors to use the most sustainable
items and eliminating single use items. Create a list of most the most
common items that vendors, exhibitors and guests will need to dispose of during
your event, and communicate with them expectations in advance. What kind
of beverages and food will vendors be selling? Will exhibitors be giving away
items? How will vendors and exhibitors be bringing in their wares? Develop appropriate
guidelines that meet your particular goals.
The most common recyclable materials generated at events include plastic water
and soda bottles, aluminum cans and cardboard from vendors, and other
items such as pamphlets, fact sheets and other printed information; an event
with educational booths might generate higher amounts of paper as attendees
tend to pick up the information as they walk by and dispose of it later after they
3.2. Step 2: Plan for collection What type of Bins are needed? How many
bins are needed?
The Vashon Recycling and Transfer Station (VRTS) accepts mixed or “commingled”
recycled materials. This means that guests will not need to sort their recycling
by material, except removing food waste & liquids. Clean and dry plastic
bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard, paper, cartons and glass bottles can be
mixed together; and therefore, you will only need to provide four types of containers
– landfill trash, recycling, food waste, and a system for collecting and
disposing of liquids. We suggest the use of 5 gallon plastic pails for food waste,
eventually destined for pig farms or compost facilities (organic waste is accepted
at the VRTS for a small fee; it is currently hauled to Cedar Grove Compost in
If you are planning a new event or are not able to obtain historical waste information,
you can use the following as rough guidelines for the recommended
minimum number of bins based on event size. Note that for events with a large
layout, additional bins may be necessary to space waste collection throughout
the event space. By adding recycling bins, much less landfill trash will be collected
than without recycling. Recycling and trash bins are available in many
sizes, ideally with 30 to 65 gallon capacities, the larger ones equipped with lids,
handles and 2 wheels.
~50-100 attendees: 2-3 recycling bins, 2-3 trash bins, 2-3 compost (food waste)
~500-1,000 attendees: 5 recycling bins, 5 trash bins, 3-5 compost (food waste)
~10,000-25,000 attendees: 25 recycling bins, 25 trash bins, 10-20 compost
(food waste) pails/buckets
Trash / Recycling Bin Specifications
No matter what style trash and recycling bins are used, each should be clearly
labeled and distinctly different. It is important that visitors be able to easily distinguish
between trash and recycling disposal options at a glance. Trash and recycling
containers should be labeled using both written words and illustrations
to show what types of materials are acceptable for recycling/trash. Additionally,
guests are more likely to recycle when trash containers are labeled with the
word, “Landfill” as opposed to “Trash” or ”Garbage”.
Waste Bin Placement
Place trash, recycling, and compost containers next to each other. If trash and
recycling containers are spread apart, even by a few feet, guests will put all of
their waste in the closest container whether or not it is appropriate. Research
has shown that 36 feet is the distance people are willing to walk to dispose of
waste. Littering becomes more common when a guest has to actively seek out
waste receptacles. Make it easy for your guests, label each container prominently
(use Words and Graphics) so there is no guess work required..
When deciding on placement of trash and recycling containers, consider the following:
Place more containers in areas where higher volumes of waste will be expected
such as near concession areas, restrooms, entrances and exits.
If guests are restricted from taking beverage containers out of the event space,
place recycling and trash containers at the exit.
If vendors will generate large amounts of cardboard, consider providing
additional recycling containers solely for cardboard.
Lining your waste containers with bags using the following color scheme will
help ensure staff/volunteers do not inadvertently dispose of materials in
the wrong dumpster: Clear bags for recycling, Black bags for trash, Green
biodegradable (such as BioBags) for composting.
3.3. Step 3: Staffing
It is possible to implement a successful recycling program at an event without
additional staff than the number of people usually required. However, with extra
help, you can ensure that guests do a better job of sorting and recycling waste.
Ideal staffing follows:
Position: Waste Manager – Oversees all event waste-related issues throughout
planning process and during the event.
Position: Station Recycling Ambassador – Customer-service focused individuals
tasked with assisting guests on how to properly recycle and answering questions,
such as assure recycled items are clean and dry.
Position: Vendor Recycling Assistant – Customer-service focused individuals
tasked with assisting vendors, exhibitors and sponsors with recycling practices.
Position: Container Monitor – Checks recycling and/or trash containers throughout
the event to ensure they do not become overly full and result in litter.
Position: Hauler – A private company or volunteer with a truck to move all of an
event’s combined recycling and trash to the appropriate end-points.
Note: Diane Emerson, Vashon Chamber of Commerce, and ZWV have assembled
a Vashon Green Event Recycling Station Kit which is available for loan from
the Vashon Chamber of Commerce. See Appendix 2 for additional details.
3.4. Step 4: Guest Education
In order to successfully recycle at an event, guests must be able to easily understand
how to properly use the recycling and trash containers. Events are notorious
for having poorly sorted trash and contaminated recycling which is troublesome
when recycling arrives at the recycling plant. This problem typically occurs
because event guests do not understand what materials to put into each container.
To prevent this common problem at an event, take the following steps:
• Provide information on recycling procedures on the event website, map or
• Make announcements from stage reminding guests how to properly recycle.
• Trash and recycling containers should be labeled using written words and
illustrations to show what types of materials are acceptable for recycling/
trash. This methodology has been proven to result in higher recycling
rates than using written words alone. Additionally, the guests are more
successful recycling when trash containers are labeled with the words,
“Landfill” as opposed to “Trash” or ”Garbage”.
• Event staff should be educated in advance, understand and be able to
answer questions regarding the recycling process and guidelines.
3.5. Step 5: Vendor Education
It is easy to focus on guest experience so much so that vendors are overlooked
as a potential major contributing sources of trash and recycling materials. Vendors,
exhibitors and sponsors commonly leave behind a large quantity of cardboard
boxes, food containers such as jugs or jars, spent cooking oil, and organic
materials. All bulk packaging non-recyclable materials such as rubber bands,
produce tags, plastic bags, tape, and twist ties must be removed from the organic
waste stream. Educating vendors should begin long before the event, with
communication and assistance continuing throughout the event:
• Communicate your event’s sustainability goals and recycling system to your
vendors well in advance of the event in a clearly written concise document.
• Discourage vendors, exhibitors and sponsors from giving away a lot of
brochures or any promotional item that is not long-lasting. Guests take
free items, regardless of whether they are actually desired. These items
then become litter or simply are thrown away when they return home.
Make exhibitors aware of your goals and encourage them to give thoughtful
consideration to the items they distribute. Promotional giveaways that
help guests lead a more sustainable lifestyle are highly recommended
such as a reusable water bottle or shopping bag, as long as they are of
sufficiently quality to prevent premature disposal.
• Notify vendors of recycling availability and procedure prior to the event and,
as described above in the “Staffing” section with the help of a Vendor Recycling
Assistant; also let them know about the (possible) availability of
water filling stations eliminating the need for plastic water bottles.
Recommend that vendors select and purchase food service packaging that is
recyclable, compostable, or reusable. For example, vendors should be encouraged
to sell beverages in cans or bottles instead of fountain beverages in nonrecyclable
Vendors selling bottles, cans and other recyclables should post signs reminding
customers to recycle these items. It is best if vendors sell products with less
packaging to reduce overall event waste. For example, a vendor selling corn
could sell it on a stick instead of on a stick and on a plate. Vendors should only
provide the utensils required for the type of food sold. For example, avoid providing
prepackaged sets of cutlery for sandwiches or items that only require a
fork or a spoon. Also avoid individually wrapped cutlery as the plastic wrap is
unnecessary waste and are easily blown away by wind, becoming litter. Vendors
should provide condiments in large reusable tubs with pumps, or only provide
condiment packets upon request. Distribution of paper napkins should be controlled
by providing a small number upon request. This methodology will prevent
customers from taking more than they will use, creating unnecessary waste.
If selling fountain beverages, vendors can help to minimize waste and reduce
costs by providing a discount on beverages for customers using reusable cups
or bringing their own reusable bottle. Consider incentivizing vendors to follow
these policies by giving prime booth placement to those who have made an environmental
commitment, and offer awards for those who meet your green standards.
3.6. Step 6: Waste Disposal & Hauling
Depending on the size of your event, you have several options for waste disposal.
1) For smaller events, you may be able to dispose of your landfill and recycling
in your curbside collection bins. Food Waste could go in your backyard
compost bin or be taken to VRTS for composting.
2) You can also self-haul the landfill, recycling and compostable materials to
the VRTS. Charges will apply for Landfill waste and Compostable Food
waste, recycling is still free.
3) You can contract with Murray Disposal (Waste Connections), or other Service
to supply large dumpsters for the event for a nominal charge. If this is
the case for your event, dumpsters should be clearly labeled “landfill” or
“recycling” and event staff or volunteers should be trained to know what
type of material to deposit into each dumpster. Larger events should consider
renting compacting dumpsters to save space and reduce the number
of times collection is required.
4) You could minimize waste disposal by alerting guests in advance that the
event strives to be zero waste; they can contribute by bringing their re-usable
containers and pack out any trash they generate, as long as you can
be assured of its proper disposal.
4. ZERO-WASTE EVENTS
It is possible to host a “zero waste” event where there is little or no trash generated
and sent to the landfill by minimizing food waste and associated waste
through composting and use of reusable items (cloth napkins, washable plates,
Composting is nature’s way to recycle (biodegrade) plant and animal material
(things that were once living or made from things that were once living) into a
soil-like material or “compost.” Compost is rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms
and is an excellent soil conditioner that also sequesters carbon.
Natural healthy soils contain some composted material. While there are other
ways to recycle food scraps (eg., pig feed), composting is the most common
one used for the types of compostable wastes collected at events.
4.1. Step 1: Know your waste stream
What is compostable? What is recycling? What is trash?
Consider what items the food vendors will be selling and make a list of the compostables
that will be generated as a result. Taking corn cobs as an example,
customers will need to dispose of the cob in addition to the wooden stick and
any wrapping or plate used for serving it. The inedible cob, wooden stick, napkins
and other paper products would be accepted as composting. If the corn
was vended using an aluminum foil wrapping or an EPS (expanded polystyrene)
aka “Styrofoam” plate, these items are not normally recyclable or compostable
and would need to be disposed of in the trash (note Nadine Edelstein’s First
Sunday Vashon Styrofoam Recycling program accepts clean, dry, tape-free EPS
as well as other foams and plastics; no type 7, however). Nevertheless, a customer
buying an elephant ear served on a paper plate will only have to dispose
of a paper plate and napkins and any leftovers, all of which are compostable.
When guests mistakenly place non-compostable items into the composting
container, problems result at the compost facility. High contamination levels
could result in the rejection at the facility and diversion to the landfill. With planning
and coordination, it is possible to nearly eliminate trash and avoid the potential
for guests to contaminate the composting or recycling waste streams.
Minimize contaminants by working with vendors to eliminate their use in the
event. For example, compostable service ware is now available as an alternative
to traditional plastic versions. Paper products can be composted in place of Styrofoam
or aluminum foil. All bulk packaging such as rubber bands, produce
tags, plastic bags, tape, and twist ties must be removed from the compostable
Compostable service ware
Compostable service ware (plates, containers, cups, straws, napkins and cutlery)
makes it easier to collect food scraps for recycling at composting facilities
because the service ware can be placed along any uneaten food into the compostables
containers, as long as the materials are on the list of Cedar Grove’s
The following are generally considered compostable:
• Paper or cardboard that is not coated with regular plastic such as paper napkins
and pizza boxes,
• Paper and cardboard coated with wax,
• Paper and cardboard coated with compostable plastic,
• Variable types of compostable plastic,
• Compostable plastics are derived from plant starches. These plastics
look like any other plastic with the exception of special labeling.
• If you chose to use the VRTS, follow Cedar Grove Compost facility’s guidelines
for compostable materials.
In addition, the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) provides third party verification
that a product is able to be composted at a commercial facility. Look for
certified paper and compostable plastic products that carry this label (see Glossary
“compostable” entry for details). Some manufacturers may have certified
their products without clearly labeling their product, choosing instead to put certification
information on product specification sheets and/or their website. BPI
has a catalog of companies and the products that have been certified, which offers
an easy way to verify if the product you intend to buy is compostable (see
Glossary “compostable” entry for details).
• Don’t confuse “bio-based” and “biodegradable” labeling with “compostable”
labels. Compostable items degrade at the same rate as other organic materials
(yard wastes, manures, food scraps); whereas, items labeled as bio-based
or biodegradable might not biodegrade quickly enough to be considered
4.2. Step 2: Plan for collection
A third container for compostables will need to accompany trash and recycling
to dispose of food waste and items such as napkins, paper plates, wax-paper
wraps, and other service ware that are considered compostable. These containers
must also be labeled with the kind of food scraps and other compostables
that are acceptable. If you contract with an organics waste hauler, they can provide
information on the items that are acceptable at the compost processing facility
if not using the VRTS. Organics waste haulers can also transport the organic
waste to other compost processing facilities for processing. These companies
may be able to provide specialized containers that are leak proof and monitor
them throughout the event.
4.3. Step 3: Staffing
Include food waste/composting training as part of the positions described for
It is strongly advised that zero waste efforts are implemented when it is possible
to have recycling ambassadors at the recycling stations helping attendees clearly
sort compostable items correctly. Whereas people are more familiar with traditional
recycling, zero waste efforts are not yet mainstream and mistakes are
common as people learn how to distinguish between composting, recycling and
trash. Diane Emerson, Vashon Chamber of Commerce, and ZWV have assembled
an Event Recycling Station Kit which is available for borrowing from the
Chamber. See Appendix 1 for additional details. Staff should also document the
systems in photographs and diagrams, characterize the waste mix and quantify
4.4. Step 4: Guest education
It is very important that containers are labeled clearly with text and images of
acceptable materials so that Recycling Ambassadors can help attendees sort
items correctly. This is also a great opportunity to educate attendees on what is
and isn’t compostable.
4.5. Step 5: Vendor education
Include information on how vendors are expected to participate in your new
composting program by modifying the type of materials they use to serve food
and where to deposit food waste throughout the event.
4.6. Step 6: Hauling
Discuss with the organics hauler if they will be using a large organics container
to consolidate all the compostables. If so, the container should be labeled as
“Food Scraps / Compostables / Organics Only.” The container must be leak
proof and, ideally, locked to prevent people from putting regular trash or recyclables
Additional resources can be found in section 7 below. Quantification of the
waste stream during the event in terms of volume or mass of different materials,
as well as documenting the system in photographs and diagrams are important
for designing future events and should be included in the system. Zero Waste
Vashon staff are available to assist in providing additional advice to ensure successful
recycling. Please refer to the ZWV website or contact
email@example.com or any members of the ZWV board for
6. GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Accessibility-usability of a product, service, environment or facility by people with the
widest range of capabilities.
Carbon footprint – a measure of the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that
are released within the boundaries of study. A carbon footprint is often measured in the
units of kg or tonnes of CO2e (e=equivalent). A true carbon footprint starts at the cradle
and measures the release of GHG emissions throughout a supply chain or life-cycle.
Compostable – ASTM D6400, D6868 and/or Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) certification
as “compostable”, meaning that a product will biodegrade completely, quickly
and safely-similar to yard trimmings and food scraps in a municipal compost system. To
locate products that carry this certification, see: https://bpiworld.org/CertifiedCompostable.
For a list of compostable items accepted at the Cedar Grove Compost facility
in Maple Valley (the current destiny of organic waste deposited at the Vashon Transfer
Station), see: https://cedar-grove.com/compostable/accepted-items.
Composting – A mixture of organic substances such as organic food waste, paper fibers,
and yard waste that will decompose and be used to enrich soil. Composting creates a
valuable resource out of waste instead of paying to dispose of this material in a landfill.
Commingled – aka mixed stream – In reference to recycling, mixed or commingled
streams are those that do not require sorting of recycled materials based on material
such as clean & dry plastic, metal, and paper. Mixed or commingled recycling can be
placed into one container and sorted at a later time at a recycling plant.
Contamination – Non-recyclable items that have been deposited into a recycling container,
or non-organic materials placed in an organic waste container.
Generated – In reference to recycling, “generated” materials are those that are discarded
by event participants (exhibitors, staff, and guests).
Hauler – the entity hired to transport trash/ recycling or compost material from the
event site to the appropriate end destination (transfer station, composting facility, pig
farms, recycling plant, or landfill).
ISO 20121 (International Sustainable Events Standards)- Events can take a heavy toll
on our resources, society and the environment by generating significant waste, putting
a strain on local resources (eg., water or energy), or creating tensions in local communities.
This standard can make an event sustainable, no matter its type or size.
Life cycle assessment (LCA)- also known as life cycle analysis, includes a variety of environmental
impact categories, beyond carbon footprint, such as toxicity, eutrophication,
acidification, water depletion, resource depletion, etc.
Sustainable Development- development that meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs; it is about integrating
the goals of a high quality of life, health and prosperity with social justice and maintaining
the earth’s capacity to support life in all its diversity. These social, economic
and environmental goals are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
VRTS – King County’s Vashon Recycling and Transfer Station where commingled (free)
and organic waste (min. fee-$12 for <320 lbs.) can be recycled on Vashon.
Waste streams – Describes all materials discarded at an event, many of which are valuable
Waste Hierarchy – a tool used in the evaluation of processes that protect the environment
alongside resource and energy consumption ranked from most favorable to least
favorable. The hierarchy establishes priorities based on current sustainability standards.[
1] To be sustainable, waste management cannot be solved only with one-dimensional
solutions and require an integrated circular approach. “ (modified from wikipedia)
Zero Waste – Any one-time program, occasion or event that reduces waste by preventing
90% or more of trash from entering landfills through use of recycling, composting,
7. Additional Resources
7.1. Selected Brochures & Pamphlets (after Kansas City Green Event Planning
Recycling for Festivals and Special Events (Center for Energy and Environmental
Education, School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Sciences, University
of Northern Iowa)
It’s Easy Being Green! A Guide to Planning and Conducting Environmentally
Aware Meetings and Events (United States Environmental Protection Agency,
Solid Waste and Emergency Response, EPA530-K-96-002)
Don’t Throw Away That Food: Strategies for Record-Setting Waste Reduction
(United States Environmental Protection Agency, Solid Waste and Emergency
Recycling At Your Event: Recycling Advocates Guide to Reducing Waste at Any
Event or Conference (Recycling Advocates, P.O. Box 6736, Portland OR 97228-
6736; 503-777-0909; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.recyclingadvocates.
Exhibitor Recycling: Oregon Convention Center; The Blues Go Green: Waterfront
Blues Festival reduces waste by 50 percent, Waste Prevention and Recycling at
Conferences and Meetings(Metro Regional Environmental Management Dept.,
600 NE Grand Ave., Portland, OR 97232-2736; contact: Genya Arnold, Promotion
Outreach Planner, 503-797-1700; www.metro-region.org).
7.2.2. Selected Organizations and Individuals (after Kansas City Green Event
Planning Guide, 2013) These organizations or individuals are familiar with or are
actually responsible for event recycling for one or more large events.
Bridging The Gap, 435 Westport Rd., #23, Kansas City, MO 64111;
816-561-1087; www. bridgingthegap.org; e-mail: email@example.com.
Environmental consultants and organizers of waste reduction and recycling.
Keep Kansas City Beautiful, a program of Bridging The Gap, coordinates the
Green Event program for greater Kansas City.
Center for Energy and Environmental Education, School of Health, Physical Education
and Leisure Services, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa
50614-0293, contact: Rick Stinchfield, 319-273-2573; e-mail:
Rick.Stinchfield@uni.edu. Recycling organizers for several community events.
BRING Recycling, P.O. Box 885, Eugene, OR 97440-0885, contact: Julie Daniel,
541-746-3023; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bringrecycling.org. Recycling
organizers of the Oregon County Fair, Art in the Vineyard & other events.
Del Mar Fairgrounds, 22nd District Agricultural Association, Concessions Dept.
P.O. Box 2668, Del Mar, CA, contact: Nancy Strauss, 858-792-4218. Recycling
and waste reduction organizers for Fairgrounds events.
University of Colorado Environmental Center,, CU Environmental Center 207
UCB Boulder, Colorado 80309; contact: Marianne Moulton, Asst. Dir.,
303-492-8308; email, email@example.com; www.ecenter.colorado.edu. Recycling
organizers for the Bolder Boulder Marathon & 10K, campus concerts, etc.
City of San Francisco Recycling Program, 1145 Market St., #401, San Francisco,
CA, contact: Ed Cooney 415-554- 3437; www.sfrecycles.org.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, 901 N. 5th St., Kansas
City KS 66101, 913-551-7003. Call for information on how to join Waste
Wise, Energy Wise, WAVE and other no-cost waste prevention and energy conservation
programs. To order brochures, pamphlets and documents call toll-free
1-800-490-9198 or see website: www.epa.gov.
Metro Regional Center, 600 NE Grand Ave., Portland, OR 97232-2736, contact:
Genya Arnold, Promotion Outreach Planner, 503-797-1700; www.metro-region.
org. Website contains a helpful article entitled Waste Prevention & Recycling
at Conferences & Meetings, also available in hard copy brochure form.
National Recycling Coalition, 1727 King St., Suite 105, Alexandria, VA
22314-2720; 703-683-9025, e-mail: NRCInfo@nrc-recycle.org; www.nrc-recycle.
Recycling Advocates, P.O.Box 6736, Portland, OR 97228-6736, contact: Kate
Wells, 503-777-0909; E-mail:info@ recyclingadvocates.org; www.recyclingadvocates.
Colorado University Environmental Center, Special Event Recycling Program,
Campus Box 207, UMC 331, Boulder, CO 80309, contact: Marianne Moulton,
Eno River Association, 4419 Guess Rd., Durham, NC 27712, contact: Judy
Stafford, 919-544-5324; www. enoriver.org. Organizers of the “Trash-Free” Festival
for the Eno.
Community Recycling Network, contact: Andy Rock; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
website: www.crn.org.uk. Creators of the Reusabowl Project using washable
crockery and cutlery at public events.
Keep America Beautiful, Inc., website: www.kab.org. Tips on organizing litterfree
festivals and events.
The Cygnus Group, www.cygnus-group.com. A website designed to provide information
regarding the most efficient and effective ways to reduce waste and
conserve resources, including access to the Use Less Stuff Report.
7.2. Commercial Products, Businesses (after Kansas City Green Event Planning
Guide, 2013) These businesses offer recycled-content or reusable promotional
products, environmental services or other event recycling-related items. Please
note that the listing below does not indicate an endorsement by ZWV and as the
list may be out of date. The reader is urged to practice due diligence in evaluating
Adapt, 13618 Lemay St., Van Nuys, CA 91401-1114; 888-782-6974; www.adaptadspecialty.
com; e-mail: email@example.com. Carry a broad range of recycled content
Amazing Recycled Products, P.O.B. 312, Denver, CO 80201; 800-241-2174; email:
firstname.lastname@example.org, website: amazingrecycled.com. Carry a
large spectrum of products made from recycled materials.
BioCorp, Inc., 8890 Autumn Oaks Dr., Rockford, MN 55373; Toll Free
888-206-5658; e-mail: info@BiocorpUSA. com; website: http://www.Biocorp-
USA.com. Manufacturers of ReSourceWare, biodegradable plastic tableware
and biodegradable collection bags.
Direct Access International, Inc., EMED Co., Inc., P.O. Box 369, Buffalo, NY
14240-0369; 800-442-3633, emedco.com; e-mail: customerservice@emedco.-
com. Specialists in innovative signage and safety communication.
Energy & Environmental Concepts, Inc., 325 S. Spruce St., Traverse City, MI
Green Hotels Association, P.O. Box 420121, Houston, TX 77242-0212; 713-789-
Green Restaurant Association, 38 Harold St Sharon, MA 02067; 858-452-7358;
e-mail: email@example.com; www.dinegreen.com
Home & Planet, 25 E. 3rd Bethlehem, PA 18015; toll-free 1-877-966-1009;
www.homeandplanet.com; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Gifts, furniture, accessories,
Keep America Beautiful, Inc.; www.kab.org. Has specialty products pertaining to
J. Wilbur Company, Kansas City, MO; 816-421-7050; Toll Free 800-421-7050;
www. jwilbur.com; email: email@example.com. Provide a broad range of
promotional items and services.
Rainbow Eco Specialties, Bldg. 9, Ste 82, 1275 Bloomfield Ave., Fairfield, NJ
07004; 800-564-6748; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Promotional and educational
products made from recycled materials.
Direct Access International, 301 Broadway, Ste 403, Riviera Beach, FL 33404;
800-811-7383; fax 561-863-5507; e-mail: email@example.com. Manufacturers of
100% recycled content apparel and accessories.
Royal Resource Management Corporation, 1709 Highway #7, Brougham, Ontario,
Canada L0H 1A0, contact: Jack McGinnis, Vice President, Technical Services
905-427-0009; Toll Free 888-312-1000 ext. 315; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Technical consultants for large event recycling;
did recycling at 1996 Olympic Games.
Windsor Barrel Works, P.O. Box 47, Kempton, PA 19529; 610-736-4344. Attractive
outdoor recycling receptacles made of recycled materials.
The Plastic Lumber Company, 115 W Bartges St Akron OH, 44311;
330-762-8989; e-mail: sales@ plasticlumber.com; www.plasticlumber.com; email:
email@example.com. Signs, furniture and recycling containers from
Successful Events, P.O. Box 64784, St. Paul, MN 55164-0784, Toll Free
800-896-9221. Carry a broad range of award and promotional items.
Stan Miller and Associates, 25955 Aurora Rd., Cleveland, OH 44146;
800-211-5850; www.millerpromotions.com. Carry a broad range of award and
Weisenbach Specialty Printing, Inc., 437 Holtzman Ave., Columbus, OH
43205-1604; 800-778-5420; e-mail: weisart@ beol.net. Recycled-content Tshirts
and other promotional items.
Appendix 1. Sustainability Perspectives
In the USA, over 20% of consumer-level food is annually wasted (Buzby & Hyman,
2014; Conrad et al., 2018). The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
recognized the relationship between consumer behaviors, waste disposal,
and the sustainability of various food groups in order to improve long-term food
security (USDGAC, 2015). Food waste directly impacts resource conservation
and food security, with growing environmental and economic costs, resulting in
the need for communities to transition to more sustainable practices (eg., Thyberg
& Tonjes, 2016). An estimated quarter of the produced food supply is lost
or wasted within the food supply chain; the production of this lost food globally
has been estimated to account for 24% of total freshwater resources used in
food production, 23% of global cropland, and 23% of global fertilizer use
(Kummu et al., 2012), meaning the carbon footprint of the average meal could
be decreased by a third if food waste was eliminated.
The U.S. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), defined the main
goal of sustainability to: “create and maintain conditions, under which humans
and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic,
and other requirements of present and future generations.” A “sustainable
approach” is systems-based and seeks to understand the interactions
among the three sustainability pillars: environmental, social, and economic in an
effort to better understand the consequences of our actions. Sustainable solutions
to many current problems protect the environment, strengthen our communities,
and foster individual well being.
In 1987, the UN World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland
Commission) defined “sustainable development” as: “…development that
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs.”
The National Academies convened a landmark study on Sustainability in
1996-1998 and published the synthesis volume “Our Common Journey: A Transition
toward Sustainability,” which drew on nearly 375 reports of the National Research
Council and hundreds of other published works, as well as the results of
eight meetings, two summer studies, three workshops, a public symposium, and
two commissioned studies.
Sustainable and other climate-crisis actions are immediately needed; one recent
study estimated that delayed action will cost the world over $26 trillion by 2030
as well as much unnecessary loss of life (Global Commission on the Economy
and Climate, 2018).
Appendix 2. Recommendations for 2020, from the 2019 Vashon Strawberry
Festival Recycling Team (by Diane Emerson and collaborators) [with additional
notes from ZWV]
These are recommendations to the Chamber of Commerce from the recycling
team. It will be up to the Chamber to determine which, if any, of these recommendations
to implement for the 2020 Strawberry Festival.
1. It is recommended to encourage vendors to NOT hand out water bottles
or boxed water. Approximately 90% of the recycling was water bottles
and boxed water cartons. Instead, we suggest that organizers purchase
two water stations, and also encourage booth renters to have a
couple of gallons of tap water available to people who visit the booth, but
no free cups or containers. It is further suggested that water bottles can
be sold at cost, and that no logos be on the water bottles, so people will
more likely keep and re-use them. We picked up a number of high quality
re-usable water bottles thrown into the trash. We believe it was because
they were given away, and because they had business logos on them.
2. It is recommended to coordinate the recycling effort early on in the
process, beginning Fall 2019, or no later than February 2020, to work with
the many people who contribute to the waste stream: food vendors, the
Sportsman’s Club, and any groups who want to hand out water in any
form. This will give the lead time necessary to work more closely with the
Boy Scouts on trash collection, Granny’s metal utensils, and line up people
with compost bins and pigs to take the compostable paper and food
3. No Compostable Plastic. It is recommended that all vendors and anyone
giving items away understand that in Vashon’s system for the next few
years, compostable plastic is considered trash. It is only compostable in
an off-island commercial compost facility. Neither the transfer station nor
curbside pickup accepts it for composting, nor is it recyclable. Paperbased
cups, plates and bowls have a better chance of being composted
in island home and farm composting systems.
4. We suggest having 2 recycling stations again, with one well-trained
person at a time in each booth, sorting and cleaning. All other staff and
volunteers should be in the street, picking up recyclables, food waste, and
compostables to bring back to the recycling stations for processing.
[nota bene-ZWV suggests more than two recycling stations for an event as large
as Strawberry Festival as long as they can be properly monitored.]
5. We suggest that on the street, we have a cluster of 3 containers every
500 to 1000 feet: A Black trash can, a Blue recycling bin with only the recycling
logo on it, and a container, probably a 6-gallon bucket, for compostables
or food waste. We saw clearly that Festival visitors don’t take
the time to read signage, and have only a second to recognize a trash or
recycling bin. They can do that with these color cues. Blue is the standard
color for recycling, Black for trash. A food waste container of some sort
will keep some of the food waste from contaminating the recycling, or being
thrown into the trash. Staff and volunteers can go through the trash
just ahead of the Boy Scouts, and rescue recycling and compostable
items. This would be the Rescue Recycling Team. They can bring the recycling
bins back to a recycling station for detailed sorting and cleaning.
They can bring the compostables/food waste buckets back to the recycling
stations to remove inappropriate items. Just like the Scouts, the recycling
team can replace the full recycling bins and compostable buckets
with empty containers, so there is always one ready to use by the public.
[nota bene-ZWV suggests a closer spacing of recycling clusters, perhaps every
100-200 ft and clearly marked]
6. It is recommended to include food vendors in the effort. Food vendors
were pretty good about bringing their cardboard to the main recycling
area in the large parking lot across from the Ace Service Center, but they
trashed a lot of recycling and food. It is recommended that the roving recycling
rescue team collect recyclables and food waste from food vendors
[nota bene-ZWV suggests the Chamber provide food vendors with details describing
an effective system for recycling food waste and other materials in advance
of the event, perhaps making it part of the vendor agreement.]
7. It is suggested that the Chamber include promotion of recycling along
with other information on the 2020 Strawberry Festival and encourage
people to bring their own water bottles.
[nota bene-ZWV suggests the Chamber follow the lead of The Sheepdog Classic
and designate the event Zero Waste.]
8. Make it fun! Consider having a basketball hoop for the public to toss
clean and ready recycling into the recycling bin. A team member would
keep a lid on the hoop until the potential recycled item was approved.
This would provide an opportunity for education, as well as fun.
9. “In Bin” Examples. People were having trouble accepting that they
could put their trash AND recyclables in the ‘In Bin”. So it is suggested to
place examples In the back of the ‘In Bins’: a bottle, a can, a clean napkin,
clean paper plate, and a non-gross example of food so people can quickly
see what can go into the ‘In Bin’.
[nota bene-ZWV believes a single “In Bin” is really confusing for attendees and a
step backward as people are accustomed and trained to have at least two bins.
Having only one bin defeats any opportunity to educate the public if somebody
is going to go through the trash and pick out the recycling.]
Recycling flags, bins and other materials used in the 2019 Strawberry Festival
Recycling Stations are available to other groups on Vashon when they
want to recycle this way at events. This Vashon Green Event Kit may additionally
incorporate dishes and glassware and more, for running completely
zero waste events. Contact the Vashon Maury Island Chamber of
Commerce to borrow these materials for events that do not conflict with
the 2020 Strawberry Festival.
8. References & Sources
Circular Ecology, 2019. Environmental sustainability facts
Colton, K., 2018. Go Green: How To Start Creating Sustainable Events and the
associated page event planning tips
Columbus Green Event Guide, 2016.
Conrad Z., Niles M.T., Neher D.A., Roy E.D., Tichenor N.E., Jahns L., 2018. Relationship
between food waste, diet quality, and environmental sustainability.
PLoS ONE 13(4): e0195405. https:// doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195405.
Enhanced version of the Waste Hierarchy
Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, 2018. Unlocking the Inclusive
Growth Story of the 21st Century: Accelerating Climate Action in Urgent Times.
Hansen, W., Christopher, M., Verbuecheln, M., 2002. “EU Waste Policies and
Challenges for Local and Regional Authorities”
Hillis, C., 2019. Sustainable events, redefined.
ISO International Standard, ISO 20121:2012, Event sustainability management
systems – Requirements with guidance for use. Geneva.
Kummu M., de Moel H., Porkka M., Siebert S., Varis O., Ward P.J., 2012. Lost
food, wasted resources: global food supply chain losses and their impacts on
freshwater, cropland, and fertiliser use. Sci Total Environ. 438:477–89. https://
McCurry, D., 2019. 9 Ideas for a more sustainable event
National Research Council, 1999. Our Common Journey: A Transition toward
Sustainability, NRC Press.
Thyberg K.L., Tonjes D.J., 2016. Drivers of food waste and their implications for
sustainable policy development. Resources, Conservation, & Recycling,
Thyberg K.L., Tonjes D.J., Gurevitch J., 2015. Quantification of Food Waste Disposal
in the United States: A Meta-Analysis. Environ Sci Technol. 49(24):13946–
UN World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987. Our Common Future.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
UN, 1987. Our Common Future, From One Earth to One World
USDGC, 2015. Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee:
Advisory Report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the
Secretary of Agriculture. Part D, Ch. 5. Washington, DC. www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/
USEPA, 2015. Sustainability Primer
Water refill station resources: https://findtap.com, http://refillambassadors.com,