Creating 'zero-waste' events

Sep 12, 2011

Every Monday morning, we take a look at groups around the state that are trying to improve things in Michigan. Today, we hear from Samantha Schiebold, a third year undergrad at the University of Michigan who is also the project manager of the Student Sustainability Initiative at U of M. The group works to increase awareness of ways students can protect the environment.

One of the Initiative’s biggest successes was hosting a zero waste U of M basketball game last year.

“We worked with vendors at the U of M stadium to provide packaging that was either recyclable or compostable. Then we staffed the entire event with volunteers who really educated people who were at the basketball game on what was compostable, what was recyclable and what was trash.”

Although the events are titled 'zero waste,' it is difficult to imagine eliminating trash bins entirely.

“Certain packaging, like candy bars, that are definitely going to be at the event, are not recyclable so you have to provide trash cans for those things. People are bringing outside packaging into the game, therefore you have to account for that.”

The Student Sustainability Initiative plans to continue to host zero waste events.

“We’ve been doing a zero waste alumni tailgate for our homecoming game,  we’ve been doing that for the last few years and we’re planning on doing that again. Hopefully, in the next few years, I’m not going to get overzealous, we would really like to see a zero waste football game.”

The Initiative plans to unite with other groups in order to advocate their goals.

 “One of the things that we really strive for is unifying the student voice. There are numerous environmentally conscious student organizations on campus, sometimes they’re all pushing for the same thing. The Student Sustainability Initiative is really to bring everyone together so that we can collaborate and we can really magnify our voice.”

By Allison Lyons