Zero Waste Catering Events

Zero Waste logo

Catering on the Charles has provided Zero Waste events since Commencement 2009, sorting the waste behind the scenes of their staffed events.  You may not find any trash bins on the floor of your event and that is because we take all the used plates, cups, napkins, etc and sort it in the back: 99% of the waste generated at our events is diverted to either compost or recycling.  The disposable products used at events are made from either PLA, corn starch utensils, and recycled paper.

Each year at Commencement, we host over 120 Zero Waste events across campus- some of them with up to 5,000 guests!

2011 commencement graph

What is the Zero Waste Pickup ?

In order to extend our Zero Waste service to all drop-off orders and non-staffed events, Catering on the Charles and Charlie-to-Go have expanded  the Zero Waste program, offering a recycling and compost pickup option to the Charles River Campus  for events under 50 people.

When you place an online order for Charlie-to-Go or a Catering on the Charles drop-off, you have the option to receive recycling and compost pickup for $10 by merely checking a box at the end of the order, or letting your sales manager know.

When you do, catering will deliver a green compostable bag along with a clear bag for recycling, enabling your attendees to sort their compostable waste and recyclables. These items will subsequently be picked up and disposed of responsibly by Catering on the Charles at the end of your event. And it doesn’t end there.

Educating guests on how to sort their waste is essential in the success of this new program. By providing Zero Waste events, dining services hopes to educate event attendees on the importance of waste reduction and encourage behavior change through the utilization of recycling and composting. Thus, in addition to the actual composting and recycling receptacles pickup, your event will also be provided with a table tent that instructs attendees about sorting waste.

Where does all the compost end up? Six days a week, Save that Stuff hauls dining services compostables to Brick Ends Farm, a composting facility in South Hamilton, Mass., where the waste is added to piles as high as basketball hoop poles. The waste then decomposes until turning into nutrient rich soil. Afterwards, it is re-sold local farmers, backyard gardeners, and landscapers.

Zero Waste events are a win-win situation: They contribute to Boston University’s commitment to sustainability, ensure an environmentally responsible event for your group, provide an educational aspect that hopefully encourages future behavior change, and reduce landfill space and CO2 emissions for a greener planet.