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Everything we do affects the world around us. The garbage we accumulate doesn’t just magically go away. The Energy Information Administration reports the average American is responsible for producing over 1,600 pounds of solid waste each year. That works out to 4.5 pounds a day (an increase from 2.7 pounds a day in 1960) for every man, woman and child, and one of the worst offenders can be large-scale events.
Unless, that is, event producers partner with Eureka Recycling. Eureka Recycling is proud to partner with the Living Green Expo to create the largest zero waste event in the state. At the 2011 Living Green Expo, 22,000 attendees were inspired to take action to live healthier and more sustainable lives—while generating almost no waste. At last year’s event, 1,272 pounds of materials were composted and 2,125 pounds were recycled, thanks—in large part—to the efforts of Eureka Recycling. On average, less than one-fifth of a pound of trash was generated by each of the 22,000 attendees, and 93 percent of all discards were turned into nutrient-rich soil or recycled into new products rather than sent to an incinerator or buried in a landfill.
In order to reduce the amount of disposable materials used, Eureka staff members work with event producers in advance to rethink everything from decorations to food to packaging. During the event, Eureka staff is present to help implement waste reduction strategies, then, once the event is over, they track materials from the event to the recycling or composting facility and provide a detailed post-event report.
According to eurekarecycling.com, “We don’t have to give up our quality of life for zero waste. Zero waste isn’t about sacrifice. It’s about having safe and reliable products, abundant resources, healthy food, clean air and water, healthy families and communities—the things we really want. Zero waste has even been shown to be one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective strategies available for combating climate change.”
Producing a sustainable event
Not only does the Living Green Expo teach sustainability, it really walks the talk! From compostable and reusable signage, to partnering with CONTEMPL8 T-SHIRTS to print volunteer apparel with 100 percent wind power and eco-friendly water-based ink, all aspects of the event are carefully considered to minimize impact on the environment.
Make your neighborhood event zero waste!
Whether you are having a barbecue with a few neighbors, or you are hosting a family reunion or neighborhood block party—every bit of waste reduction and recycling at your event will make an impact. With some planning and communication with your guests ahead of time, these simple tips—provided by Eureka Recycling—can help you reduce waste at your event, or in your home, every day!
- Avoid individually wrapped single serving items. You can serve bite-size or finger foods that require no utensils or choose entrées that can be served in large containers like pasta in a large bowl or a platter of sub sandwiches.
- Plan ahead to avoid wasting food. Accurately estimate attendance when preparing food or placing orders for catering. Consider hosting a potluck and encouraging your guests to bring the leftovers home with them in reusable containers. If you’re keeping the leftovers, be sure to store them properly so you can eat them later.
- Provide reusable items, or encourage participants to bring their own. Silverware, glasses or mugs, and plates can be washed and reused. Cloth napkins and tablecloths can be used instead of paper. Serve beverages in glasses rather than single-serving, one-use bottles or cans.
- Use materials with recycled content. If using reusable items is not possible, paper items are more likely to be made out of recycled content than plastic materials.
- Use easily recyclable items. Aluminum cans and glass bottles are valuable and can be made into cans and bottles over and over again. Avoid plastics, especially plastics that are not recyclable. Only plastic bottles (marked with a 1 or 2) can be recycled through most curbside recycling programs. Non-recyclable plastics include plastic tubs, plastic wraps, plastic cups, and plastic spoons, knives, and forks. Some of these plastics may be recyclable through special drop-off programs, but must be collected separately.
If you live in a city where Eureka Recycling provides curbside recycling, you can recycle your milk cartons and juice boxes, too!
Learn more about Eureka Recycling and zero waste events at the Living Green Expo May 5-6, 2012. eurekarecycling.org, (651) 222-SORT (7678)