UO Zero Waste Services for Events

The UO Zero Waste Program provides waste reduction/recycling/composting services to all campus events, campus catered events, meetings, conferences and other campus gatherings. Currently, the ASUO provides funding for all student groups to have these services at program events. For non-student groups, there is a fee for these services. Though campus catering offers compostable food ware for all campus catered functions, recycling/composting services are not included. To order these services for a campus function, contact: compost@uoregon.edu or call 541-346-2354

Please consider a zero waste event by ordering reusable foodware (plates, cups, napkins, utensils) through campus catering. Though this is an increased charge it will truly be creating a zero waste event. Save money by not ordering bottled water, get a free urn of water from catering and spending the savings on utilizing reusable food ware to make a zero waste event, which benefits everyone!

You can minimize charges for your event by:

  • Reducing the amount of waste produced by ordering durable reusable chinaware in planning your event
  • Working with the Zero Waste Program on managing the services through your event volunteers- a minimal charge will be incurred for drop off and pick up of the zero waste site equipment
  • Eliminating bottled water at all catered events and ordering a free urn of drinking water that comes with compostable cups

If you choose not to order these services, all of the materials will go to the landfill as Campus Catering does not provide any recycling or composting at campus catered events.

Contact us about zero waste catering - compost@uoregon.edu

.Thanks for recycling and composting at your campus events!

The UO Zero Waste Program has been working to continually implement and improve waste reduction and recovery at all UO events, catering, conference, educational training's, concerts and other non-routine campus events. The UO Zero Waste Program is not involved in the football games waste recovery. Contact the UO Athletic department for information on Game Day recycling/composting efforts.
At all UO events, vendors are encouraged to reduce their waste through PRECYCLING and to utilize materials that can be collected for recycling and composting. This is an ever changing situation due to unstable plastics markets and expansion of composting from food waste recovery to include biodegradable and reusable foodware.
At campus conferences and festivals, generally speaking, Campus Zero Waste works to maximize vendor and public recycling/composting. At larger festivals/fairs, vendor recycling/composting sites are set-up to include: glass, metals, low grade paper, cardboard, plastic, sheet plastic, cooking grease and compostables (including pre and post consumer food waste and ware). Public recycling traditionally has included: bottles/cans and newspapers but is now being expanded to include compostables.

The Compost/Events Coordinator oversees a Student Events Coordinator to assist with zero waste at all campus events. The campus scheduling office sends a list of all scheduled campus events and the Compst/Zero Waste Events Recycling Coordinator contacts event coordinators prior to the event to assess: what waste will be generated, where activities will be held, what types of materials need to be collected and how much labor is needed to manage the event zero waste.

The ultimate goal is to create Zero Waste events and a zero waste campus. Holy Cow is the organic, local, sustainable cafe on the UO campus. Holy Cow composts all their pre and post consumer food waste; serves local organic food; and offers a reusable plate and fork option.

The Events Zero Waste efforts have inspired the university to expand daily practices to include composting and compostables collection. Currently, all of the campus food service locations collect pre and post consumer food waste including compostable food ware. The Program has always supported utilizing traditional paper ware as a first choice before incorporating corn based and bamboo compostable food ware.

Self Service Events Guide.pdf 

Zero Waste Events Catering Guide.pdf

Zero Waste Events Flier.pdf

Events Guidlines.pdf

Events Recycling Flier.pdf



For collecting compostables, it is essential to utilize biodegradable bags OR have leakproof containers that can be switched out and easily emptied at the composting site (and of course, easy to clean). For public collection we use Biosolo bags. For the food vendor compostables collection, we use 30 gallon toters that are easy to empty and move.

For cups and utensils, it is trickier. Supplying reusables is the ideal scenario, which has been implemented at the Vancouver Folk and Davis Whole Earth Festivals. Entry fee includes a deposit on a cup, fork and plate. These items are washed by event staff and deposits are returned when folks are done with these items. Energy and money is spent on collecting and washing of dishware as opposed to garbage collection and clean-up.

Of note: There are some biodegradable products on the market that resemble styrofoam. This is something we will never consider. Our philosophy: why replace something bad (styro) with something that's good but looks like the bad thing.

For smaller events and conferences, recyclables/compostables are determined at the assessment of the event. Until post-consumer composting is implemented into the University waste stream system, it becomes a judgment call on whether to go to the effort of collecting compostables at smaller conferences. BUT, if the conference/event staff is willing to assist in this effort, it becomes more feasible. See General Zero Waste Events Recycling sheet for more of an overview.

Of note: Expanded recycling/composting at these events, has been enthusiastically received by the public and vendor participants. Volunteers are enlisted to help us monitor sites for contamination. Between individuals approaching us during these events and the County Master Recycler Program, costs and burden on the UO Zero Waste Program is minimalized. Thanx to everyone for recycling and composting. A special thanks to folks who bring their own foodware to these events!

**In 1989, the ASUO banned Styrofoam food service containers from campus. This is a great asset to the Zero Waste events recycling effort. This has been a never ending issue as there have been vendors who are turned down because they want to only use Styrofoam.

Here's what we've been up to lately at the
University of Oregon....

Willamette Valley Music Fest
Vancouver Folk Festival
Davis Whole Earth Festival
Events Assessment Sheet
Events Guidelines
Vendor Guidelines
Public Recycling/Composting Guidelines
Events Materials Tally
GRRN - Zero Waste events
Lane County Fair - Recycling: A fair test of festival recycling practices

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