Zero Waste Events

compostclearstreamWhen planning an event, waste management is often overlooked but plays a vital role in an event’s success and sustainability. Strive for zero waste at your next event! Zero waste is a philosophy of thoughtful reuse, composting and recycling in order to minimize the waste sent to landfills. By striving for zero waste, you will help save landfill space and reduce the use of natural resources.

Clearstream Rental Costs

If you are hosting an event that will create landfill, recycling, or compostable waste, please fill out our Service Request Form to rent clearstream event bins.

Event Bins & Dumpsters Rental Cost
1 Landfill Clearstream & 1 Recycling Clearstream $15.00*
1 Recycling Clearstream & 1 Compost Clearstream $15.00*
1 Landfill Clearstream, 1 Recycling Clearstream & 1 Compost Clearstream $15.00*
Landfill Dumpster $70.00
Cardboard Dumpster $70.00
Compost Dumpster $70.00
Plywood (if applicable) $2.00 per sheet

*Clearstream event bins are free of charge for events hosted by a recognized NC State Student Organization.

Click on one of the dropdown menus below to learn more about clearstreams and how rentals work.


  • A clearstream is a collapsible bin used for event waste. It includes a lightweight metal frame which holds a bag and a labelled plastic lid.
  • Clearstreams can be rented as a set: one set includes a collapsible frame, lid and bags for each type of material – landfill, recycling, and compost.
  • Clearstreams can be used outdoors or indoors, and are necessary when your event may fill the outdoor walkway bins or interior recycling and waste sites that are designated for general use.
  • The requested amount of event clearstreams with bags and/or dumpsters will be delivered near the event location prior to your event, allowing ample time for set-up.
  • The clearstreams will be locked in a blue cart with wheels. The combination will be emailed to you in a confirmation email.
  • Your volunteers are responsible for setting up the event clearstreams. These Clearstream Set-up Instructions will provide detailed steps on how to set up the clearstreams.
  • Your volunteers and staff are responsible for emptying any landfill, recycling and compost event clearstreams that fill up during the event.
  • Clearstream bins follow the same guidelines as the rest of the bins on campus. If you have questions about any particular items, visit our What to do with page or contact us and we will be happy to assist.
  • Inform everyone working and attending your event to sort their waste into the appropriate bin. A Quick Guide on what goes into each bin is available for you to provide to your volunteers at the event.
  • Place all generated waste into the appropriate container: trash into the nearest landfill dumpster, cardboard into the nearest cardboard dumpster, and recycling into the nearest recycling carts.
  • If applicable, stack any bags of compost beside the blue event cart. Pizza boxes may also be placed in or next to the blue cart if there is not a pizza box composting dumpster nearby.
  • Break down all clearstreams and place back in the cart in the same location they were dropped off, and lock.
  • All materials will be picked up the next business day.

Zero Waste Event Checklist

Kay Yow Spring GameBenefits of Zero Waste

Tons of food waste and single-use items are sent to landfills each day. Working to make your event zero waste not only saves landfill space and reduces methane gas produced in landfills, but it is a powerful way to change people’s perceptions of trash and help others become more aware of their environmental impact.

Click on one of the dropdown menus below to learn more about the steps you can take to host a zero waste event.

Waste Reduction and Recycling staff are always available to offer guidance to event planners wishing to incorporate zero waste into their events. Please contact us for assistance.

Assess how much and what type of materials will be thrown out at the event. This will identify opportunities to reduce waste and determine who and what is needed to manage that waste. Here are some things to consider during your evaluation:

  • Type of event (concert vs. small meeting)
  • How many people
  • Location (indoor vs. outdoor)
  • Food (individually packaged vs. buffet)
  • Serveware (use reusable, compostable or recyclable serveware)
  • Giveaways
  • Volunteer availability
  • Decorations (use reusable and sustainable decorations)

Once you have completed this step, please fill out the service request form or contact us to reserve clearstreams for your event.

This is a great way to set expectations and create guidelines for your event volunteers, attendees and vendors from the beginning. It also provides a source of motivation and makes it easier to measure success. Here are some things to consider when setting goals:

  • Set goals that are attainable. Referring to the initial needs assessment can help you better determine what is realistic.
  • Sometimes budgets are limited, so be creative and utilize all available resources.
  • It is ok to start small, something as little as composting several pizza boxes from your event can make a big impact.

Placing event bins in the proper location will increase attendee participation in recycling and composting at your event. Here are some suggestions for the best event bin placement:

  • Always pair event bins
  • Make sure bins are accessible and conveniently located
  • Bins should be close to food and eating areas
  • Always place bins near crowded areas
  • Bins should be located at entrance and exit points
  • Share goals and set expectations with vendors and attendees
  • Train volunteers and ensure they know what can and cannot go into each bin
  • Provide clear signage
  • Setup event bins: compost, recycle, landfill
  • Sort/Monitor Stations (change bags as needed)
  • Break down and clean up
  • Get material to the right place to be recycled, composted or disposed of

Reuse to Reduce Your Waste

Use reusable items when possible such as "real" plates, cups and utensils, washable napkins and tablecloths and reusable serving trays

Items to Avoid

Avoid items that will end up in the landfill such as disposable plates, cups and utensils, disposable straws and stir sticks, Styrofoam, single use decorations (balloons, vinyl banners, streamers), disposable napkins and tablecloths, products with excessive packaging, bottled water, prepackaged sandwiches, single serve condiment packets (mustard, ketchup, sugar, creamer, etc.)


Wolfpack Certified Sustainable events represent the best in sustainable campus event planning. This certification offers campus event planners the opportunity to be recognized for sustainable event planning in the areas of food, waste, purchasing, education, marketing, transportation, energy and water, and service.

The  Wolfpack Certified Sustainable event certification is tracked through the NC State Sustainability Office.