For Businesses

Why Does Celebrating Earth Week Create Trash?

Doreen Schreiber

During the month of April, numerous businesses in Northeast Ohio host Earth Day celebration events. The events are meant to help employees, clients and visitors learn how to be better stewards of the environment. Vendors are invited to share products and educational literature that promote sustainability with those who attend.

At the end of the event, the vendors pack up, tables are folded and put away and everyone goes about their business for the rest of the day. What’s left over from the event? Trash, and sometimes lots of it.

Ice cream is served in Styrofoam bowls with plastic spoons. Samples and drinks are given out in small plastic cups. Cardboard boxes that carried vendor products and materials go right into the trash. Often times, recycling containers were not placed at the event for everyone to use. When I inquire, the typical reply is, “We never thought about that.”

There is a solution. You can learn more about hosting a zero or reduced waste event and download a free Zero Waste Event Guide from the ZeroWaste NEO Working Group. Locally, the annual EarthFest at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds and the annual Sustainable Cleveland Summit are great examples of zero waste events that produce almost no trash.

Consider making your next event a zero or reduced waste event. By including composting and recycling services at your next gathering, your program can be a great example of a happening that produces almost no trash. This is a great way to show stewardship of the environment.