rethinkwaste-events - James Madison University

At a university meeting, it is not uncommon to generate a half a pound of waste per person.
Accordingly, for a meeting or event of 30 people, you can save 15 pounds of waste by simply
spending 15 minutes of the event planning process rethinking how the meeting, event or
conference is executed! The steps below are intended to guide the event planners through the 15
minute long rethinking process.
Start: Review the online “Rethink Waste Best Practices” (also shown on pages 2 – 4 of this
document) and the “Sample Communications” on pages 6 and 7.
At 2 minutes: For each action listed on the checklist, identify which groups of participants (e.g.,
organizers, presenters, attendees, none) will implement each action. For many actions, such as
using recycled content paper purchased from the Copy Center, multiple groups can implement.
Ideally, many actions will be implemented, but of course not all actions will be applicable.
At 7 minutes: Identify which organizers need to conduct actions. Provide direction to them. For
example, staff members may need to order bulk beverages, print recycling signs, and create
recycling bins for nametags.
At 9 minutes: Adapt the sample communications to your conference. Identify which organizers
will implement these. Provide direction to them. For example, a staff member will add the pledge
to the registration website, add a message on the webpage and other communications about
the conference waste reduction efforts, and add questions to the evaluation.
At 11 minutes: Identify which planning committee members will communicate to the presenters
and attendees about the event’s commitment to reducing waste and the waste reduction
actions that have been selected.
At 13 minutes: Identify which planning committee members will lead the rethink waste
commitment at the event. For example, a moderator might include a slide with the rethink waste
commitment actions, encourage participants to reduce waste as part of the event’s
introductory address, and point out composting and recycling bins to participants at
appropriate times.
At 15:00 minutes: Send an e-mail to so that the OESS will know you
implemented waste reduction best practices. This will allow us to track and recognize efforts.
If you would like assistance implementing, training is available through Training and Development’s
“Greening Your Office” series: .
In support of the JMU Environmental Stewardship Action Plan 2011-2015, JMU is adopting a
goal to rethink how waste is generated and disposed of at meetings and events, with the
overall goal of reducing waste. As you plan meetings and events, please incorporate some
of the following actions to promote environmental stewardship.
1. Reduce paper and ink use
Assigned to
Post agendas and supporting documents online or distribute electronically instead of
Use electronic media for event promotion, registration, and materials distribution.
Request that people use electronic materials rather than print materials.
When printing is necessary, use half sheets of paper, print double-sided, select ½” margins,
and select Century Gothic 10 or 11 point font when possible. (see instructions)
Print schedules on the back of nametags instead of printing both nametags and schedules.
2. Reduce the environmental impact of paper.
Assigned to
Order tested and cost-competitive recycled paper from the Copy Center.
3. Increase recycling.
Assigned to
Verbally direct people to recycling bins and include a presentation slide asking participants
to recycle.
Make sure paper recycling bins are visible and clearly label them "Recycle Handouts Here"
with reusable signage.
Order additional recycling bins for large events. (see instructions)
Post updated recycling guidelines above recycling bins. Download JMU Recycling posters
Re-use nametags and recycle nametag inserts. Make recycling containers and clearly label
them "Recycle Nametags Here" with reusable signage.
4. Reconsider giveaways/promotional items/material incentives.
Assigned to
Eliminate give away items.
Give away items that are sustainably made, useful (i.e., use USB drives with handouts, coffee
mugs or water bottles), and optional (i.e., offer giveaways on a table for individuals to
5. Reconsider optional items.
Assigned to
Eliminate centerpieces.
Decorate with reusable or repurposed items (i.e., decorate with live plants), and share
centerpieces or decorations with another organization.
*Making sustainable food choices is more complex than a check box. Attend a JMU program to learn more: Sustainable catering options are under development.
6. Reduce the use and impact of disposable containers.
Assigned to
Order buffet-style meals.
Order bulk beverage servers instead of individual beverage containers.
Confirm compostable tableware, including cups, plates, napkins and utensils will be
provided. (Composting services subject to availability.)
Ask participants to bring reusable cups or mugs.
Recycle the boxes if using boxed lunches. They can be placed in the paper recycling bins.
Make sure recycling bins for food/beverage containers are visible and clearly label them
"Recycle Plastics/Cans/Glass Here" with reusable signage. Download JMU Recycling posters
7. Reduce the volume of food wasted.
Assigned to
Ask participants to provide early confirmation of attendance and order the appropriate
amount of food.
8. Reduce food sent to landfill. (Composting services subject to availability.)
Assigned to
Plan your dining events in Festival where composting bins are available or in D-hall or E-hall
where composting is conducted by Dining Services.
Verbally direct people to composting bins and include a presentation slide asking
participants to compost.
Post updated composting guidelines above composting bins. Download JMU
Recycling/Composting posters at
9.Reduce vehicle use.
Assigned to
Utilize existing shuttle buses.
Advertise the closest inner-campus shuttle stop and alternative transportation tools such as
Zimride, NextBus, and BusFinder, all available at
Encourage and facilitate carpooling, biking, and walking.
Use departmental vehicles for cross campus trips only when loads are being transported or
groups are carpooling.
Request fuel-efficient vehicles from the motor pool. (see instructions)
10. Promote environmentally conscious behavior.
Assigned to
Clearly state your waste reduction goals for the conference and for participants on your
event website, e-mails, documents, and opening address.
Be consistent in your messaging.
Be creative and make it fun for the attendees to be better environmental stewards.
Work closely with stakeholders, such as vendors and speakers.
Set an example by modeling environmentally-conscious choices.
Send the conference evaluation results to
For more information, visit the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability at For questions or comments, contact
Setting fonts in Word documents:
From the office help menu, if you want all new documents to use the ink-saving Century Gothic 10
point font, change the default font settings:
1. On the Format menu, click “Font.”
2. Select the “Century Gothic” and “10 point” options that you want to use for new documents.
3. Click “Default.”
4. When you are prompted to change the default font, click “Yes”.
Ordering recycled paper via the Copy Center:
Simply order recycled paper through the Copy Center. They have tested the recycled paper in the
large copy machines at the Copy Center as well as desktop printers (lasers, deskjets, all in one, etc,
copiers, etc) in 60 departments on campus since April 2011. There have been no complaints
regarding jamming or other issues such as clarity, weight, etc. Further, the proposed paper addresses
students' sustainable forest concerns, comes from a SWAM vendor, and is $1.40 per carton less than
JMU's current expenditure. This ordering is very efficient as it is billed directly to departments and is
tracked internally.
Ordering recycling and composting bins for events:
For outdoor events, request recycling bins via AiM work order.
For indoor events, request recycling bins on the catering contract if you are ordering cans and
Composting is being phased in at the Festival Conference and Student Center and the
Montpelier Room of East Campus Dining Hall. For casual events, request compostable
serviceware and composting bins on the catering contract. For formal events, request
composting service on the catering contract.
Reserving a fuel efficient vehicle through the motor pool:
In AiM, select “alternative fuel vehicle” and specify a Milan, Prius, or Escape hybrid vehicle in the
notes section. For departments considering purchasing a vehicle, two hybrid vehicles are now on
state contract— the Fusion hybrid, a mid-size vehicle, and the Ford C/max, a compact vehicle.
Logo for use on web and e-mails:
Sample text for event/conference webpage:
JMU is working to become a model steward of the natural world. An environmental stewardship
action plan for 2011-15 identifies JMU’s environmental goals and priority actions. An important
part of the plan is reducing waste sent to the landfill. University meetings and events are
significant contributors to our waste stream and a highly cost-effective venue for waste
reduction. At a university meeting, it is not uncommon to generate a half pound of waste per
The conference planners have implemented multiple waste reduction efforts:
1. Posted agendas and single-use materials online or distributed electronically instead of printing.
2. Used electronic media for event promotion and registration.
3. Printed schedules on the back of nametags instead of printing both nametags and schedules.
4. Made re-usable signs or buttons for recurring events, meetings or for other needs.
5. Used at least 30% recycled content paper for printed materials.
6. Provided recycling bins and directions.
7. Provided optional giveaway items that are useful.
8. Eliminated centerpieces and decorations.
9. Ordered bulk beverage servers instead of individual containers.
10. Asked participants to give early confirmation of attendance and ordered the appropriate
amount of food.
11. Planned your dinner event at a venue where composting is conducted.
12. Provided a shuttle to replace individual car use.
Please help us reach our reduction goals by:
1. Recycling and composting at the conference.
2. Taking only giveaways that you will use.
3. Bringing your own reusable mugs/bottles v. using disposable cups.
4. Utilizing the shuttle provided by JMU.
5. Using electronic materials rather than printed materials.
Sample text for event/conference registration page:
Take the pledge to participate in waste reduction at this event!
Note: To direct attendees to the pledge shown above, include the following hyperlink: The results will be reported to the Office
of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. E-mail if you would like to
receive a copy of the results.
Sample text for e-mails to event/conference participants:
JMU is committed to environmental stewardship and waste reduction. Click here [link to your
conference/event webpage on waste reduction] to read about how the conference organizers
have reduced waste and what you can do to contribute.
Sample text for event/conference evaluation:
Please assist us in improving our waste reduction efforts:
1. Did you participate in the waste reduction efforts?
□ Yes
□ No
2. Please share any comments on the waste reduction effort.
_____text entry