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MIT ZeroWasteEvent PlanningGuide Wiki

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==Zero Waste MIT Events Planning Guide==
== Zero Waste MIT Events Planning Guide ==
This guide will help members of the MIT community to plan and execute meetings, parties, or other events with a goal of minimizing waste and environmental impact without sacrificing the quality of the event. The guide outlines the most important factors to consider and provides information about local resources available to reduce your event’s environmental footprint.
*Create an event web site.
*Offer electronic registration or confirmation.
*Print fliers on the clean side of used paper (there's ample in Athena printers!)*Uses flyers fliers sparsely and strategically and assure that they are recycled when removed from bulletin boards.
*LSC slides during the movie are available for each event at a cost of $50 per weekend. Information is available at http://lsc.mit.edu/info/slides.
*All ASA-recognized student groups receive a total of 80 column-inches (equivalent to one full page) of free ad space in The Tech per academic year, split however they wish. Deadlines for advertisements are on a Tuesday-Friday system; all copy must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Friday for Tuesday publication, and by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday for Friday publication.
*Offer fair trade, shade grown, organic coffee.
*Procure beverages and condiments in resource efficient bulk-packaging (2-Liter, Kegs, etc) rather than individual serving packets.
 *Use cloth napkins which you can later wash and reuse. SfGS Sustainability@MIT has a set you can borrow.
*Consider the use of reusable, compostable, or post-consumer-recycled-content cutlery, dishware, linens, and napkins.
*Provide *incentives* for attendees to bring reusable items (e.g. mugs, utensils) rather than expect disposable serviceware.
*Consider having your group purchase its own set of reusable dishware for all of your events. Or partner with other organizations to do this.
 *Seek caterers that can maximize the use of local, seasonal , and organic food. Assure that there are vegetarian meal options. Potential sources around Cambridge for such food service include: Harvest, Veggie Planet, Basil Tree, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and surely more. Veggie Planet is very good friendly, tasty, and excited about low-waste catering.
*Also consider the travel distance for caterers, the closer the better. Bon Appetit is on MIT campus.
*Have a discussion with the caterer about your wants as far as minimizing waste. They can be surprisingly accommodating at the suggestion and often have their own ideas of how to limit waste!
*Put it in writing. Include the policies above in the RFP and/or contract for food service. *Provide food composting services. MIT has some composting (unknown contact). The City of Cambridge has a pilot composting project accepting many items, including the usual plus meat, dairy, even pizza boxes. http://www.cambridgema.gov/TheWorks/departments/recycle/compost_that_stuff.html
*Donate excess food to local shelters, food banks, or soup kitchens.
===Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy===
*Select venues that are as energy efficient as possible. Easy ways to assess this include seeking spaces with significant daylighting, modest and energy efficient electric lighting, automated building controls, and well insulated/large thermal mass building envelopes.
*MIT is currently pursuing has LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for four new campus construction projects: Stata Center, Simmons Hall, Brain Cognitive Sciences, Sidney-Pacific.
*Purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) or “green-tags” to offset the emissions of any electricity used for the event. There are numerous competitive certified-REC providers. For a list of providers, see http://www.green-e.org/your_e_choices/trcs.html. The current average price of a REC is 2.5¢ per kWh.
*To determine the projected energy usage for a particular building on campus, contact MIT’s Director of Facilities Peter Cooper at PLCooper@PLANT.MIT.EDUor check out the campus energy map
*Select venues adjacent to public transportation and with sufficient bicycle racks.
*Encourage the return of items that can be reused at another event.
*Promote the events environmental objectives.
*Some interesting facts to convey:
- Each individual generates about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year - about 4.5 pounds per person, per day. If we continue this pattern, we'll each create 90,000 pounds of trash in our lifetime (Resource Conservation Challenge, EPA, 2002)
- 55.4% of municipal solid waste is landfilled in 2003 (EPA)
- Landfills rank #2 in highest greenhouse gas emissions in the US (after fossil fuel combustion) (White House Taskforce on Recycling, 1998)
- 1,830,000 tons of disposable plates and cups were used in the US in 1997 (up from 270,000 tons in 1960) (EPA, 1998)
- 58% of municipal waste (by weight) are packaging and containers, or disposable products such as paper and plastic cups and plates, junk mail, trash bags, and tissue papers and towels. (EPA, 2003)
[[Category:Sustainability demonstration events]]


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