When people gather to discuss research, programs, and ideas on campus, food—often with extra packaging and disposable food service items—is an integral part of these meetings. Thanks to a student-led consulting service, there is a way to make events on campus more sustainable.
Green Events, part of the Campus Environmental Center, works to reduce waste on campus and educate the UT community about sustainability. Just last spring, the team diverted 142 pounds of compost and 253 pounds of recycling from the landfill by servicing 13 meetings and five large events. This means that approximately 5700 people experienced a Green Event.
One of the larger events last year was the Longhorn Run.
"We worked with the Longhorn Run to help reduce their waste," says Rachel Aaronson, Green Events project team leader. "We ended up composting over 150 pounds of bananas peels. I had never seen so many bananas in my life!"
The Green Events team providies free recycling and composting at student organization events. In addition, the team helps student organizations choose environmentally-friendly products, methods of advertising, and food vendors. Green Events works to educate the campus community and also sells compostable plates, bowls, cups, and silverware.
"We get to engage with people from all over the university, make a positive impression, and build awareness," says Aaronson. "Most of the student organizations we work with are interested in learning about zero-waste and other environmental issues. They want to do their part, so it is such a great opportunity to use Green Events to help educate them while we are diverting waste from the landfill."