Green Events and/or Zero Waste Events

HSU is committed to zero waste, a strategy that takes a ‘whole systems’ approach to eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste going to the landfill. Zero waste encourages source reduction, materials re-use, composting and recycling.

Most event organizers at HSU are now making their events zero waste! Follow the simple guidelines below and thank you for your commitment to HSU's zero waste goal!

Before the Event:
  • Make sure all promotional or advertising materials and decorations such as giveaways, banners, display materials and fliers are reusable, recyclable, compostable, or virtual.

    • Tip #1: Check out SCRAP Humboldt or R.O.S.E to find or donate reusable materials.

    • Tip #2: Utilize online advertising, evites, event websites and other outreach programs that minimize or eliminate printed, disposable materials.

  • Confirm that any food and drink are served with reusable dining ware and cutlery, including napkins and tablecloths. If this is not possible, all dishware, cups and utensils must be compostable or recyclable.

    • Tip #3: Insert reusable, composting and recycling requirements into the caterer agreement.

    • Tip #4: Encourage event-goers to bring their own cups, plates and utensils.

  • Request food be served buffet style over individually boxed meals.

  • Ensure that water, along with other beverages, is be served from reusable dispensers/urns, not in disposable containers.

  • Sugar, honey, creamer and other condiments are served in dispensers, not individual packets.

  • Ensure that all food is provided in variable portion sizes (e.g. half sandwiches, half bagels, or mini muffins). This will reduce food waste.

  • Donate leftover food! Before the event coordinate with Oh SNAP! to pick up and re-distribute leftover food.

  • Review Facilities Management’s Events Support guidelines. Compost and recycling bins will be delivered to your event if warranted.

During the Event:
  • Post a sign next to dining ware with the catering company name and the following: “All of our dining ware is reusable/compostable/recyclable. We are proud to support HSU Zero Waste goals!”

  • Ensure that compost, recycling and landfill bins are lined up together and are accessible.

    • Tip #5: Remove any standalone landfill/garbage bins, so that event-goers are more inclined to recycle/compost.

    • Tip #6: If there will only be recycling and compost from the event, remove all landfill/garbage bins from the event space.

  • Consider having staff or volunteers assist event-goers as they properly sort their materials into the appropriate bin.
After the event:
  • Check to make sure leftover food is donated or returned to caterer.

  • Make zero waste a part of every future event!

Acceptable Compostable and Recyclable Dining Ware

Compostable and Recyclable dining ware are only acceptable when reusable materials are not an option. Please note that polystyrene (Styrofoam), single-use plastic bags, and single use water bottles are NOT permitted at HSU Zero Waste Events.

  • All compostable plastics (#7 PLA) must be BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute, Inc.) certified. You can purchase such items here.

  • Wax-lined paper plates, bowls, cups and wax paper are acceptable/compostable only if they are BPI certified.

  • Wood/bamboo chopsticks, dining ware, toothpicks and cutlery are acceptable for compost.

  • #1 or #2 recyclable plastic cups are acceptable alternatives to compostable cups.

  • Aluminum foil, aluminum cans, aluminum trays, and glass are acceptable for recycling.

For further information, and to get your event Zero Waste Certified, download the Zero Waste Events Checklist. By certifying your event you will receive:

  • Zero Waste Event logo to use on your event promotions,

  • Recycle and Compost bin placards,

  • A customized Zero Waste Event certificate formally recognizing your achievement,

  • Recognition in campus-wide announcements and social media.

For questions on zero waste events contact the the Sustainability office (located in Facilities Management building) at (707) 826-5889.