Tips to host a waste-free event at ANU

Want to reduce the amount of waste at your next event, but don’t know where to start? The Public Policy and Societal Impact Hub have saved over 500 disposable cups and 10kgs of compost waste from landfill this year by making changes that have a lasting impact.

With some planning and creativity, you can reduce the impact on the environment by making your event more economically sound and socially responsible. Here are some of their suggestions.

Ditch the disposables

Offer reusable cups instead of disposables. If you have an onsite barista, or suspect many of your participants will be running to the nearest coffee shop for take away coffee, you can encourage participants to bring their own cups, or allow them to pre-order a new KeepCup (ANU Green also sells Keep Cups via selected retailers on campus). You can also box up all of the packaging and return to KeepCup to reuse for future products.

Be paper-free

Conference apps like “Attendify” can replace paper programs, allowing each participant to receive their individual itinerary straight to their smartphone.

Consider using plantable seed paper for nametags. Each sheet of paper is embedded with native seeds - simply plant the paper and your participants will have seedlings within seven to 21 days. This is also a great memento of your event.

Big picture catering

Ask participants to pre-select their food preferences in the week leading up to the event. This approach caters for dietary requirements, gives participants food they actually want and allows your caterer to better estimate the amount of food required. Donating uneaten food to organisations like ‘OzHarvest’ is fantastic, but reducing the amount of waste in the first place can be a more sustainable approach.

Consider your catering by looking at the whole picture. Design your menu to reflect the full scope of your program. Perhaps a lighter dinner option is best if you’ve served a full three-course meal at lunch. Chat to your caterer about where their products come from. By choosing locally sourced, in-season products you not only cut down your emissions but you often receive a higher quality product.  

Kick-start your next event

The Public Policy & Societal Impact Hub has a range of assets available for hire and information about sustainable suppliers to create your next event.

The Hub’s free of charge asset hire includes:

  • Charge bar – for participants to charge their devices. The bar also includes a poster slot for your own event branding;
  • A variety of ANU branded banners for use during presentations or photo opportunities; and
  • ANU branded lanyards.

All design files come with pre-approved ANU insignia, taking the time and hassle out of approving your own files. Templates include artwork for:

  • Keep Cups;
  • Coffee tags;
  • Charge Bar poster specs – add your own event’s brand, hashtag and URL to keep the conversation going; 
  • Compendiums; and
  • Lanyard cards or cords.
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