Zero Waste Management

The Zero Waste (ZW) strategy was designed and implemented to reduce the OuiShare Fest environmental impact.

This strategy must be transversal to the event, and thus involve all different parts and teams of the event organization:

  • Infrastructure
  • Venue
  • Offices & Logistics
  • Catering
  • Communication & Merchandising
  • Audiovisuals
  • Accommodation
  • Etc.

To be done properly, a ZW strategy must be put in place from the beginning of the event organization and be designed to include all event phases: Planning, Assembly, Event execution, Disassembly and Post-Event.

It’s important to define a specific responsible leader and/or team dedicated to assuring proper implementation of ZW practices within the different event teams.

Planning Phase:

  • This is the most important moment, since is when the ZW strategy itself is defined.
  • The ZW team leader must first think about all the practices he/she wants to implement for each category of the event (catering, venue, communication, etc.) and discuss them with the respective team leaders. He/she must present them the main practices he/she wants to implement, explaining its importance and advantages, and after help to find solutions and providers aligned with the ZW policy.
  • Besides the event’s direct team, it’s important to involve and raise awareness among all event stakeholders. Therefore, in this moment the ZW leader should also share the standards for ZW practices among all service providers, volunteers, etc.
  • If the ZW team is responsible for the onsite waste collection during the event, he/she must also plan this part in advance. In this context, the team should think about the waste collection bins (public and private), prepare a clear signage and define the waste collection methodology that will be implemented during the event. For this, is important to anticipate all types of waste that will be produced (plastic, paper, cardboard, glass, metal, wood, textile, organic, etc.) and preview its main sources, in order to place the sufficient number of waste collection bins. Finally, he/she must think about the best disposal solutions for each type of waste (reduce, reuse, recycle, compost, methanise, incinerate) and find the respective partners to do so.
  • When all is defined, the ZW team leader must produce a “Zero Waste Policy” document, listing the ZW guidelines and practices that will be implemented for the event. This strategy should then be communicated to all stakeholders, and publically divulgated.
  • In this moment, the ZW leader should think about building a “ZW network” (i.e., a list of relevant partners to help developing and implementing the different ZW policies), in order to facilitate future events management.
  • Finally, the team leader must form a ZW team to be present onsite during the assembly, event and disassembly, to ensure the correct implementation of the ZW strategy.

Assembly Phase:

  • The major concerns of the ZW team during the assembly phase are to ensure the correct separation and collection of the waste produced.
  • Also, it’s important to advise the other teams to correctly store the packaging that will be reused after the event (ex: protect cardboard from raining).

Event Phase:

  • During the event itself, the most important role of the ZW team is to ensure that the planned ZW strategy is being correctly followed by all.
  • If the team is responsible for the waste collection, it must also verify during the event that a sufficient number of waste bins have been strategically placed and ensure that bags substituted whenever needed.

Disassembly Phase:

  • During this phase, the ZW team must ensure that all the reusable equipment, materials, etc. are stored correctly for future use, that the broken items are collected to be repaired as much as possible, and finally correctly collecting and disposing of the waste that remains.

Post-Event Phase:

  • If necessary, after the event, the ZW team should donate food leftovers and/or equipment and materials that are in good condition and won’t be used in the future.
  • This is also an important moment (while the ideas are still fresh!) to report on the results of the ZW strategy, in order to be able to improve it in the future based on lessons learnt.

Main ZW practices at OSF:

  1. Rent reusable infrastructure (Hub, Lab, Dry Toilets, Solar panel phone charging station)
  2. Reus furniture, decorations and banners from past events and working space
  3. Avoid flyers
  4. Limit the OuiShare gifts to “heart” stickers
  5. Use the OuiKit tableware to serve the main meals
  6. Buy food in bulk (coffee, fruits, sugar)
  7. Avoid plastic bottles
  8. Limit the number of printed programs (only 300 printed programs, from which just about half was distributed) and complement it with online information
  9. Strategically install public waste collection stations
  10. Correctly dispose of the waste produced (recycle: paper, cardboard, plastic, metal and some glass; reuse: glass and wood; compost: coffee grounds and dry toilet waste; methanise: organic waste; etc.)
  11. Create a dedicated ZW Team
  12. Measure the waste produced during the assembly and event phases (total and per type weight of waste)

To get more details on OSF’s ZW practices and results, check out our Infographic and Report (available soon).

Zero Waste Event Toolkit – coming soon!

Together with Zero Waste France, OuiShare is building an open source toolkit to provide event organizers with the tools and knowledge to reduce and better manage waste at events – the Zero Waste Event Toolkit (ZWETk).

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