Each day there are dozens of events on campus which create an enormous amount of waste. The Zero Waste Program targets this waste by reducing packaging, avoiding single-serve items, and providing compostable ware and compost service to all staff and students on the U-M Ann Arbor Campus.
The Dirt on Why We Compost
In 2011 the University of Michigan established a goal to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by 40% below the 2006 baseline by 2025. To help achieve this goal and create a culture of sustainability on campus, leadership has made a strong commitment to expanding food waste composting on campus to target the estimated 1/3 of landfill waste that is compostable.
A zero waste event works to reduce, recycle and compost as much as possible with the goal to divert waste from the landfill. Interest and commitment to composting at campus events is becoming increasingly popular among students, faculty, and staff. The overall weight of compost collected has increased significantly, from 168 tons in FY 14, to over 633 tons in FY 17.
How We Can Support You
The Zero Waste Events Program provides FREE technical and financial assistance and resources to units, departments, and groups to reduce compostable waste being landfilled. This includes compostable plates, cups, and utensils, as well as compost collection boxes, liners, and signage. We will also help ensure there is a compost cart at the dock of the building in which the event is being held.
To increase the program reach and impact, compost collection carts are being added to loading docks and serviced regularly in buildings with food service or that frequently host events and have departments committed to composting. Regardless of whether your event is in one of the buildings with existing compost service, we can provide compost service the day of the event. Just give us a week's notice!
Contact Us As Soon As Possible
To start planning for composting at your event send an email message, as described below.
Staff, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning Your Event
- Program trifold flyer
- Zero Waste Composting Guide
- How to Host a Zero Waste Event (Video)
- Volunteering at a Zero Waste Event (Video)
- Where to pick up your zero waste event supplies - Staff
- Where to pick up your zero waste events supplies - Students
- Overview Presentation
Caterers and Vendors
- Michigan Catering is Zero-Waste Ready!
- Zero-waste friendly caterers
- Cheat sheet for ordering food and supplies
- Buy compostable ware through BBC Distributing
- Identify certified compostable ware available through mMarketsite
Communicating Zero Waste Message to Event Attendees
- Compost sign (PDF)
- Email template for event reminder (PDF)
- Zero Waste Event table tent
- Zero Waste Event table sign - by request for recurring events
- Program informational hand-out for MCatering events
- Zero Waste Event talking points (PDF)
- Break slide (PowerPoint)