Zero Waste Events

One of the best ways to make your event more sustainable is to reduce waste, drastically. It might sound impossible, but with a little planning, you can have a Zero Waste Event.

This Make Your Event Sustainable booklet includes a checklist to help you plan your event. If you commit to all relevant practices, your event qualifies for a Zero Waste Event Certification.  Even if you don't get certified, you'll find helpful ideas. Below, we provide more detailed guidelines and links to local resources that can help make waste a thing of the past!

EVENT HOSTS: Download our Make Your Event Sustainable–Step 1: Zero Waste. Also available is a brief flyer explaining the program. You can download an Excel version of the checklist/application here.

Guidelines for Recycling

With China closing its doors to the world's recycling, markets for recycling are in flux. You should get in touch with your local recycling service to find out what they can accept.


This blog post may help you navigate the so-called biodegradable containers versus recyclable plastics. When Biodegradable Isn't.

Guidelines for Food Recovery

Food recovery involves taking food that is safe to eat and getting it into other hands. If an event is offering food and the food does not actually get put onto a table where people can get to it then the Yavapai Food Recovery Program can recover it for human consumption.  If there is a buffet line and people are serving themselves any leftovers can’t be used.  However, if there is a buffet and not all food gets put out onto it then that food can be given to others.  Any food that is still in it's original packaging (ie, canned items, unopened bags of salad mix) can be donated as long as it is stored at appropriate temperatures.

Guidelines for Composting

Many services that compost do not take compostable dishes or supposedly biodegradable flatware. Meats and dairy may also need to be separated (another benefit to providing a plant-based menu.) Some may not be able to take paper napkins. Check out the local resources below.

Local Resources

If your event is in the Verde Valley/Flagstaff area, here are local resources to make your event zero waste and be more sustainable in general. If you have resources to add, please email us.

Alternative transportation: 
The Red Rock Magic Trolley can be hired for special events.

Driver Provided has a number of different sized vehicles.

Pink Jeep Tours can also be hired.

If you need to get people up from the Phoenix airport, Silverado Stages has charters out of Phoenix.

Here's a good resource from MIT to show caterers what you expect from them. Sustainable Catering Guidelines.

Yavapai Food Recovery program: Verde Valley: 928-592-3837; Quad Cities: 928-592-7929

Sedona Compost is a local start-up that focused on residential composting but they are able to service events.

Dish/Glassware/Flatware Rental: The Friends of Flagstaff’s Future has reusable dishes they “rent” to the community:

Verde Valley Events and Tents provides a number of services for event hosts, including dishes, flatware, glasses, etc that do not have to be washed before returning.

Food Recovery: 
Contact the Yavapai Food Recovery program.
Verde Valley: 928-592-3837
Quad Cities: 928-592-7929

Sedona Recycles can provide bins and pick-up. Check with them about fees.  (928) 204-1185