Education is No Waste

I have been fortunate in my life to have been involved with many excellent sustainability initiatives from designing and building an Eco Dormitory with my students to Community Supported Agriculture. Most of my experience, however, has been with waste. You might call me a “waste case.” As a matter of fact, I can’t stand waste, and I have made it a mission to design systems that minimize or eliminate waste. Some of you may recall a volunteer effort I was involved with earlier this year where we diverted over 95% of the waste stream during a community event hosting over 1,500 people. That success prompted a friend to suggest we take that successful model to other events in our community. And so we are…

Zero Waste Events

educational waste management system

Organizing an event? Want to go Zero Waste? Here’s how:

Background: The 2011 YMCA Connecting Families Day in Whanganui was declared a ‘zero waste’ event. From past experience managing large events, the management team knew that proper sorting (to avoid cross-contamination of recovered resources) is of the utmost importance and that it is essential to station someone where the collection bins are clustered. This person acts as an on-site educator and as a quality control officer. The event was successful in diverting over 95% of materials from landfill (world-class results).

Operation: We partner with event organisers to bring waste management and community education together in a combined ‘learning zone’. People enter a discrete ‘Resource Recovery’ area and are guided by ultra-clear signage and a helpful waste educator.

Benefits: For you ~ you get to declare your event ‘Zero Waste’ – think of the kudos! Know you’re doing the right thing. Saves money in waste disposal.

For the community ~ a large number of people in a short time can experience first hand world-class waste management in action. We anticipate that through repetition of this type of management scheme at all large events in Whanganui, the commitment of our community to resource recovery will be made clear to all residents, and that the practices of recycling and composting will catch on even more.


What does it cost? We have acquired funding from the Positive Futures Trust to educate about Zero Waste at events. Commercial events contribute roughly the same amount again as the educational component. This amount is usually recouped in disposal costs saved.

Who we are: Experienced educators and community business activists keen to advance resource recovery. We are eager to share our decades of experience.

If you would like to talk about making yours a Zero Waste Event, please contact us.

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