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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Doin’ It Green … Zero waste

Editor’s Note: The Environmental Policy and Planning Commission (EPPC) is an ASUCD commission responsible for researching environmental issues affecting the campus and its surrounding area, and providing recommendations for improvement. Doin’ It Green is a new feature that provides tips and ideas for being green.

Whether you are having a barbecue with a few friends or hosting an event for a student organization, every bit of waste reduction and recycling at your event will make an impact. With some planning, these simple tips can help you reduce waste at your event.

For starters, waste reduction starts with the most important part of the event — the food! Avoid serving individually wrapped single-serving items such as small bags of chips, wrapped sandwiches and cans of soda. Instead, opt for the use of finger foods that require no utensils, like sub sandwiches, or serve entrees that can be served in large containers like pasta and fruit. Plan ahead to avoid wasting food by being realistic about the number of people that are attending the event and order accordingly. If there is an excess amount of food left over, don’t throw it away! Instead, find other uses for it such as saving it for leftovers, or if it’s a larger amount, partner up with other student organizations that may have use for the excess food such as the Food Recovery Network, or plan smaller events afterwards in which the food could be used.

Secondly, provide items at the event such as glasses and plates that can be washed and reused. However, if the use of paper plates, plastic cups and utensils is unavoidable, there are still steps you can take to reduce waste. For starters, buy compostable materials such as compostable plates, bowls and napkins, which can be obtained through Campus Center for the Environment. Red plastic cups can be recycled through Red Cup Cleanup on campus, which also donates money earned from the cups to a charitable cause.

Thirdly, make sure bins for recycling, compost and landfill are available and within easy access for people to use. For smaller events such as those held in homes, backyard composting is an easy way to reduce waste at home.

More information:
Food Recovery Network: Danny Friedman, dlofriedman@ucdavis.edu
Compostable food serving: Sarah Shuman (CCE), swshuman@ucdavis.edu
Backyard composting guide: projectcompost.ucdavis.edu
Red Cup Cleanup: facebook.com/RedCupCleanup

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