Zero Waste Events for Truckee-Tahoe: Fun Creative & Money-saving!

Why bother?

  • If everyone on the planet consumed at the level of the average American, at least four additional planets worth of resources would be needed to support the planet’s six billion people.
  • The average North American consumes 10 times as much as the average person in China and 30 times as much as the average person in India.
  • A can thrown away will be there for 500 years. A can recycled will be back on the shelf in 6 weeks.


  • Save money and reduce paper waste by using Paperless Post, Evite, Sendomatic, or a similar online invitation service.
  • If you do print posters or invitations, use paper with recycled-content.
  • Give a phone number for RSVPs instead of reply cards.
  • Create a webpage with all your event info and refer to it in any printed material.


  • Encourage guests to carpool or take public transportation to the event.
  • During the non-winter season (mid April – mid December) buses serve the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, Pioneer Commerce Center, Downtown, Gateway Shopping Center, Donner State Park and the west end of Donner Lake on a fixed hourly schedule from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, every day except Sunday.
  • Truckee Dial-A-Ride 530-587-7451,
  • North Lake Tahoe transport also connects with Truckee locations. More information is here:

Food & Drinks

Party Setups & Decorations

  • Instead of buying disposable plates, utensils and cups, consider using washable items instead. Your event will be a little nicer and for smaller events, just 1 load in the dishwasher will take care of most of the cleanup.
  • If you don’t already have all the equipment you need, try to borrow or rent the rest instead of buying something you might use just 1 or 2 times a year.
  • Provide incentives for attendees to bring reusable items (e.g. mugs, utensils) rather than expecting you to provide disposables.
  • In Truckee, Eventmasters ( or A Party House ( can rent just about any type of party equipment needed. Rental plates start at $.35 each, and glasses are $.45.
  • Avoid plastic tablecloths – use paper or cloth. A twin flat sheet also makes a great table cloth.
  • Consider natural decorations (interesting succulents, flowering plants, colorful fruits, stones, bare branches decorated with ornaments or ribbon, etc.) that are biodegradable or reusable.
  • Party favors can be eco-friendly and reusable: A t-shirt, a stainless steel water bottle, potted herbs, and fair trade chocolates. Or give no-waste gifts like movie, concert or sporting event tickets.


  • Make recycling easy. Set out bins that clearly labeled recycling bins for bottles and cans.
  • Bring extra blue bags for collecting paper waste.
  • Place every recycle bin next to a trash container.

For more free information and assistance, contact Joanna Walters at 415-710-1934 or