The best way to keep waste out of our waterways and streets is to buy less and use less. Take a moment before you buy to consider what your event actually needs to be successful.
Do your guests really need plastic bags, handouts and giveaways that will never be used? Or, Is it worth it to buy balloons that will only be used for a few hours and then become waste or float away and end up in our rivers, streams, or lake?
1. Choose bulk items like squeeze bottle condiments instead of individual packets.
2. Provide linen napkins instead of paper.
3. Offer individual utensils instead of packets of utensils.
Every item that gets reused is one less piece of trash. Invest in reusable items. Wash and save them for the next event, rather than buying new items each time.
Switching to reusable items is easier than ever. Wisconsin State Health Code allows drinkware to be refilled again and again as long as the cup doesn’t touch the pour spout where beverages are served—just like using your own travel mug at your favorite coffee shop.
1. Purchase reusable containers, utensils and service ware.
2. Use chafing dishes instead of disposable aluminum pans.
3. Ask folks to bring their own items with them.
Employing a compost system at your event can significantly reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill, and can also give your food scraps a second life.
Learn more about composting in Milwaukee.
1. Local organizations can help facilitate the compost system and educate your guests. Contact Compost Crusader and Kompost Kids for service.
2. Be sure purchases are actually compostable. Check with the Biodegradable Products Institute or the U.S. Composting Council.
Recycling is the law in the State of Wisconsin. The City of Milwaukee recycles paper, cardboard, metal cans, glass, and plastics #1, 2, & 5. Styrofoam (Plastic #6 or polystyrene) is not recyclable in Milwaukee and never breaks down in the landfill. A styrofoam-free event is an easy first sustainable step.
1. Prevent confusion and contamination by avoiding items that can't be recycled.
2. Collect recycling loose or in an open paper bag, rather than in plastic bags or liners, otherwise it will be landfilled.
3. Recyclables normally accepted at the curbside can be brought to one of the City's two Drop Off Centers for no charge.
Contact Milwaukee Recycles to secure recycling containers for your event, learn what's acceptable in the recycling, and find details on drop-off sites.
We know it’s impossible to completely prevent sending waste to the landfill. Be sure to always have adequate trash receptacles to prevent contamination of recycling and compost bins, and to prevent litter from ending up on the ground or blowing away.
1. Aim for the trifecta of bins: compost, recycling, and landfill.
2. Place each bin in a row and provide clear and consistent labeling to guide action.