Creating a Sustainable Event

The Three Rs of Sustainability

You want your event to profitable (always!) and sustainable. One aspect of sustainability is to minimize the impacts of your event on the local environment. Here are a few tips on the three Rs of sustainability: Reduce, Re-use & Recycle.


The types of items that can’t be reused or recycled (plastic/styrofoam cups, plates, utensils, etc.).

Instead, consider using paper plates, recyclable utensils, if possible, or washable and reusable items. Serve beverages in pitchers, large thermoses or dispensers. One solution for water is to run a hose to a dispenser with multiple nozzles so people can fill their water bottles or drink cups. You can even run the water through a filter between the hose and the dispensers.

Pro tip: Use a food grade hose, as garden hoses are not safe for drinking water


If you print banners with your event's name, don’t put dates on banners—that way they can be used year after year!

Also, if your event has number plates, have the participants return them at the ride’s end. These can be used more than once, which also saves you from having to buy them year after year.


Talk with your local trash company about recycling and composting. Once you know what is recycleable and compostable, you can purchase containers appropriately.

For example: Serve hot beverages in uncoated paper cups. These are usually considered compostable.

Some waste companies cannot recycle or compost plant-based eating utensils. If this is the case, you are better off using less expensive plastic utensils rather than more costly plant-based ones that will end up in the landfill anyway.

If you're working with a caterer or other expo vendor, require those vendors to use recyclable or compostable containers.

Recycle cardboard, paper, bottles and cans


If you have leftover food, think about giving it away to a food bank.

For more information on putting on a responsible, sustainable event that is good for your bottom line and your environment, check out the Council for Sustainable Sport,