Orientation Week Event Sustainability

The following Tool Kit has been prepared in order to help Event Planners keep their O-Week events sustainable.

During Your Event

Sustainable Dishware

Use sustainable dishware instead of Styrofoam or plastic to serve food. Dishware may be rented for your event from Hospitality Services.

If you are using paper plates, consider using ones made from certified sustainable wood. This is less harmful to forests and ecology than generic paper plates. Greenshift or Earthcycle are good brands to look for. Also contact the Composting Coordinator at compost@pr.uoguelph.ca to determine if the plates can be composted.


You should encourage participants to BYOBottle or provide reusable water bottles as giveaways/prizes. Alternatively, a carafe of water and reusable cups can be rented through Hospitality Services.

For indoor events: provide students with directions to drinking fountains, and bathroom taps as necessary. These are sources of safe and convenient drinking water. If you are going to be directing a lot of people try highlighting water fountains with large arrows and distinctive signage, be creative!

Energy Conservation

If the event can be held outside, do it outside. Otherwise remember to turn the lights off when leaving a room or venue. Also, please turn off any electrical equipment after you’ve finished using it.

Swag and Free Stuff

Ensure that any clothing or merchandise given away or sold at an event or by event planners is made sustainably and abides by or exceeds the University of Guelph's ethical purchasing policy. Be careful when selecting Fair Trade clothing. Sometimes, companies can adhere to the University’s Ethical Purchasing Policy, but are not necessarily operating in Fair Trade conditions, as there is no worker ownership or democratic control of fair wages. The best thing to do is contact a company and see how detailed an answer they can provide as to the conditions of the workers

Make sure that any free stuff is practical, useful, and produces little waste. Consider items that are local, organic, fairly traded, natural products, with little packaging. Also remember that reducing has a greater impact than recycling, so ensure that the item will work as it is supposed to, not break, and be useful to the owner.

Helping Participants Learn

Encourage participants to properly sort any waste items when they are disposing of them at your event. If you notice someone is sorting incorrectly, please gently correct them.

If you have any items that are not immediately recognizable as recycling or garbage please mention during the event’s introduction to the participants how to dispose of these items. Visit the Sustainability website for a guide to recycling on campus.

If you’re unsure how to sort something after reviewing the guide, or would like educational material to provide to participants, please contact the Recycling Coordinator at recycle@pr.uoguelph.ca.

After Your Event

After the event, please ensure all waste is disposed of in the appropriate recycling or garbage containers. It is your responsibility as an Event Planner to leave your event location clean. Before you leave, check that the area has been cleaned up, and that no litter or equipment is left on the floor or ground.

If you ordered garbage/recycling bins for your event, you are responsible for removing the full waste bags from the portable containers, and placing them in the nearest appropriate dumpster.

Blue bags go in the blue recycling dumpster, and grey clear bags go in the black garbage dumpster. If the dumpster is FULL to the top, find another dumpster of that type. Never put recycling in the garbage dumpster or vice versa. Here is a map of all the dumpster locations on campus: http://goo.gl/MWvn1a

If you notice that a lot of items have been placed in the wrong bags, please take the time to sort them before placing them in the dumpsters. Also, please flatten cardboard before placing it in the recycling dumpster. This makes more room for everyone to use the bin.

Recycling & Garbage Containers

If you are having recycling and garbage bins delivered to your event. Ensure a blue recycling container accompanies every garbage container and set them up with the appropriately provided bags and signs, clear blue bags go in the recycling bins and clear ones in the garbage containers.

If you are using an indoor venue check before the day of the event to see if there are enough bins for your purposes. If there are too few or there are no recycling containers, contact the Recycling Coordinator at ext. 58129 or recycle@pr.uoguelph.ca.

Recycling containers and garbage bins must only be used as instructed and not for storage of drinks, as ice containers, or to hold open doors.


On campus we are capable of composting fruit, vegetable, and grain food waste. If your event is going to be producing a lot of this kind of food waste e.g. waffles, vegetable peelings, napkins, etc., then contact the Composting Coordinator compost@pr.uoguelph.ca.