On June 23rd, 2014, 450 staff from Facilities Management and Financial Services kicked off the summer with a BBQ at Ontario Hall. Hospitality Services catered the event out of Ontario Hall’s cafeteria, giving the attendees an opportunity to take advantage of the new building’s beautiful features. Keeping up with practices of other FM BBQ events over the last few years, the planning committee endeavoured to make the event “zero waste” by requesting china dish service, buffet style presentation of salads, and dessert options that did not come pre-wrapped in wasteful packaging.
We are pleased to announce that 95% of the waste generated at this event was diverted from landfill through recycling or composting. Furthermore, this year’s total waste generation was reduced by 55% compared to last year. Of the 55.95 lbs of waste generated by the event, 52.35 lbs (94%) was comprised of food scraps, napkins and a few dozen biodegradable paper cups. Only 0.65 lbs of the 55.95 lbs of waste was comprised of recyclables, as a direct result of using the dining hall’s reusable cups for all beverages. Landfill waste comprised a mere 5% of the event’s waste at 2.95 lbs.
Simple changes to the menu or presentation can make drastic changes to the waste generated by an office event, and lead to potentially great cost savings without compromising the quality of the event. Hospitality Services staff even suggested that it is easier to serve in this manner to groups, as items like salads, veggies, desserts and other items can be prepared in bulk, saving time and money. All of these elements are certainly something to consider when planning events, both large and small.
If you would like help planning a zero waste event on campus, email email@example.com.