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Tips for zero-waste event planning

Mobile phone with green recycling sign and mesh bag

With the ever-growing concern for environment pollution and global warming, planning a zero-waste event is a great way to contribute towards sustainability and help raise awareness for efficient waste disposal. Typically, the term zero-waste refers to applying the 3 R’s where possible – reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce what you are using, reuse what you can and recycle what is left.

Here at R&V, we always try our best to prevent wastage and have numerous protocols put in place to help support the environment, but what steps can you take to minimise wastage at your next event?



Always send out electronic invites rather than paper. Platforms such as Canva can help you create amazing invitations to send out via email, or why not go that extra step and add your event details onto Eventbrite where you can send out paperless invites with free RSVP links to help keep you organised.


Food wastage

Make sure you push for RSVPs to make the catering numbers as accurate as possible. The general rule of thumb is that most events tend to have at least a 5% drop out rate so consider this when ordering your food.

Think about the time of day the event will take place and cater accordingly. For example, for late afternoon events, attendees will likely have had lunch a couple of hours prior so nibbles/ canapes would be more suited than a buffet or sit-down meal. Organise your catering early to avoid last-minute Tesco runs!

Having some food left over at the end of the event is pretty much inevitable so make sure to refrigerate it and share later with friends/ neighbours/ colleagues. It is always worth checking if your catering company has any system in place to deal with uneaten food. At R&V, when possible, we take any remains to local food banks or distribute amongst the catering team!

Also, consider local catering companies that use seasonal produce to reduce transportation and put money back into the local economy.


Waste management station

Ensure there are clearly labelled, separate bins for recycling, food, and general rubbish set up in certain areas in the event room. Composting is a great practice to promote at your event – ensure the person in charge of waste removal post event has liaised with the local council on where to take any compostable products.


Steer away from disposable cups/ plates/ cutlery

Check with the event venue to see if they can provide glassware, crockery, and cutlery to avoid using plastics or single-use items. Failing that ask your caterer if they can help with this or provide a contact for event equipment rentals. At R&V we can organise all crockery and glassware arrangements for you to save you the added stress of sourcing these yourself.



Ensure your attendees are aware that you are planning a zero-waste event and encourage them to use public transport, lift share, walk or cycle to the event to reduce their carbon footprint.


Room decorations

Avoid decorating the event room with balloons, streamers, and confetti as these are all single-use and typically not biodegradable. Instead opt for well positioned lighting, fresh flowers, and vases that the venue might already have to hand. LED tealight candles or fairy lights are a great way to sustainably create ambience in any room.


These are just some of the many ways that you can introduce sustainable efforts and zero-waste procedures to your event and thus do you bit for the environment!

For more tips or catering quotes please get in touch here.

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