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Sustainable 2nd Century

Sustainable 2nd Century

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    Find out about UC Davis' waste reduction efforts.

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    Aggieware is reusable dishes and utensils for student programs, from Student Housing.

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    Student organizations can purchase zero-waste event materials through Campus Center for the Environment.

Take Action: Host a Green Event

Your challenge: Make sure your hospitality doesn't pile up at a landfill after a conference or social event.

Set up recycling and composting bins

Photo: recycling and compost bins at a zero waste event

An important prerequisite to any zero-waste event is providing a way for participants to sort their recycling and composting.

Though many campus locations already have recycling and trash bins, most events will require additional bins. To make sure you have enough recycling, composting and trash bins contact Facilities Management at least two weeks in advance to request a zero-waste set-up and removal and to determine applicable fees. 

More details, including how to arrange for a zero-waste event in less than two weeks, are available in An Event Planner's Guide to Working with Building and Grounds. UC Davis also hosts an annual Plan Green Conference for campus event planners to get tips and meet vendors who can help execute zero-waste events.

Reduce paper

Reduce your event's need for paper, starting with invitations and registration. Send invitations by e-mail and allow for online registration. These options also allow for quick response from participants and reduced paperwork. If you do not have access to a website to host registration information, UC Davis Conference and Event Services provides online registration services to campus units, student organizations, and off-campus groups.

Instead of providing an agenda and packet of papers at the event, consider posting information online or sending it via email to registered participants. Instead of providing print-outs of presentations, send these electronically to participants after the event. Inform your event's attendees that they won't be receiving paper packets and handouts so they know if they need to bring a laptop or print items ahead of time. If you are planning to give a small conference gift one option could be a reusable flash drive loaded with conference handouts.

Choose green vendors

Work with an eco-conscious vendor to make stocking the event with reusable, recyclable or compostable materials easier.

Thumbnail of sustainable catering infographic
Look at University Catering's visual guide, "Sustainable Catering for a Better Tomorrow: How to Plan a Sustainable Event," for tips on how to keep the environmental impact of your event low. Click here or on the thumbnail above to see the full graphic.

All UC Davis-approved caterers are required to provide zero-waste options upon request. When making arrangements you should alert them that you are hosting a zero-waste event so that they come to your event prepared. You can also ask them to arrange for excess food to be donated and to source organic or local food.

If you are self-catering, consider these tips to reduce your trash:

If you are hosting a conference, encourage exhibitors to provide only sustainable giveaways. Suggest that their gifts be recyclable, compostable and/or made with recycled content.

Enlist guests to help

Inform guests that they will be attending a zero-waste event and educate them about how their experiences may be different than usual. If you are reducing paper packets and handouts, prepare attendees ahead of time. You may also want to request that they bring their own mugs, or even their own dishes and eating utensils.

Make your recycling and composting goals clear to participants.

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