Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thanks to one man, a zero-waste event goes like buttah

Resource Center of the Americas executive director Jason Stone wanted to make their anniversary gala a zero-waste event. He started planning early, he consulted the right people, then he did the legwork. His request for assistance the night of the event passed from person to person to person until it landed in my 'in' box, and since I wasn't busy Friday night, I said sure, I'll help as a coordinator/monitor.

As I posted back in August, the YWCA triathlon overwhelmed me, so I was a little nervous about being the point person on the ground. What unexpected glitches would come up? I really wanted RCTA's first attempt at zero waste to be a success, so I tried to trouble-shoot: I brought extra signs, containers, bags, tape. I talked to Jason the day before (up to that point we'd only e-mailed) to ask about containers and volunteers. And I arrived extra early.

Well, I needn't have worried. Jason had made things very simple by purchasing everything compostable: plates, cups, utensils. I set up a couple of stations, talked to the caterers ... and relaxed. This was going to go well. And, it did! I met lots of wonderful people working for a very worthwhile organization, the food catered by Banquetes Tradicionales Mexicanos was delicious, the music was lively, and all went smoothly.

The party was held at Plaza Verde in Minneapolis.

Disposal station

Jason customized this sign, adding pictures of the compostable cups and utensils (center picture and bottom right picture).

Another great touch: Jason's instructions posted for the caterers.

Beverage station with compostable cold cups, hot cups, bowls of sugar and pitchers of creamer (rather than single-serve sugar packets and creamers), and real metal spoons rather than plastic disposables.

Wine (and a keg of beer) with compostable cups

The trash

The man who made it happen. Jason said to his wife, "It's magic! This is going to be dirt!" He also said his event would be a model for how to go zero-waste, and he was definitely right.

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