5 Steps to Zero Waste at Your Event

1. Contact the CU Environmental Center Zero Waste Event team

  1. Fill out the Zero Waste Event Form here.
  2. If you have specific questions, contact:
    1. Angie Gilbert
    2. Robin Poley
  3. Please fill out the form and/or contact us AT LEAST 2 WEEKS in advance of your event.
  4. We only support events on the CU Boulder campus or through CU Boulder departments.

2. Reduce your event waste

  1. Start by using reusable food servce products.
  2. Look to eliminate single-use items and packaging.
  3. Choose your vendors wisely and brainstrom how they can reduce waste.
  4. Serve in bulk. Many beverages, condiments, etc. can be purchased in larger sizes.

3. Use items that can be recycled or composted

If you have to use disposable/single-use food service items:

  1. Make sure they are recyclable or compostable.
  2. If possible, use ALL compostable service items for food and bulk beverages.
  3. Verify items are compostable or recyclable in your area before purchasing for your event.
  4. Apply the same concepts to your promotional materials and giveaways.

4. Create a waste collection plan

  1. The Environmental Center staff can best assist with a waste collection plan for your event.
  2. Paired bins optimize accuracy in disposal. Provide options to recycle/compost/landfill at each station.
  3. Maintain seperation of "public" bins and "back of house" bins, as the waste streams are often different.

5. Train your staff and guests

  1. The Environmental Center staff can provide training to your event staff and vendors.
  2. For large events, " Waste Goalies" can be placed at each station to engage guests,
  3. Consider marketing your event as a "Sustainable or Zero Waste". This way guests will know what to expect and will recognize your sustainabilty efforts. Utilize marketing materials to relay these efforts and other sustainable suggestions, encouraging guests to bring their own water bottle or ride public transportion to reduce their footprint at your event.

Cost for Zero Waste Services

Hourly rates are based on number of professional staff and student staff working the event

Contact us in "Step 1" above to get a quote for your Zero Waste Event

Minimum time for any event is 2 hours (1 hour set up + 1 hour break down)

Actual time is based on size of event and scope of waste collections

Additional collection costs may be necessary for larger events

  • Contamination fee may be charged if additional waste sorting is required at end of event
  • Please make sure your staff and volunteers are trained about your zero waste efforts

Sustainable Catering in Boulder County

Sustainable Catering in Boulder County

Boulder County has created a great list of Healthy & Sustainable Catering options, many of which can provdie catering options for CU events and meetings.

  • Use these vendors for the best zero waste serving practices
  • By using zero waste vendors, the waste materials from the event can be diverted from the landfill
  • Help us reduce contamination by ONLY serving your food on compostablt or recyclable serving ware


Check out their website for the latest updaed list at the following link:

Healthy & Sustainable Catering options in Boulder County