Re-using and recycling supplies at special events saves your school money and diverts waste from landfills. Greening your events also sets a great example for parents and students that sustainability can be easy and saves money.

Check out Grades of Green’s top five tips for greening special events at your school:

1. Recruit a volunteer to be a Green Events Advisor who will help the Event Chair or Committee to make school functions more environmentally friendly.

2. Ditch plastic water bottles by purchasing large water coolers to be used with reusable cups or cups made from recycled or compostable materials. Purchase environmentally friendly cups, plates, and utensils to replace Styrofoam and plastic. Better yet, purchase reusable items that can be washed and reused after each use.

3. Work with your PTA/PTO to purchase environmentally friendly, sturdy table cloths that can be wiped down after each use and reused. Be sure to store them on a roll as opposed to folding them to ensure they last as long as possible.

4. Organize a “party closet” or “party packs” where teachers can use and reuse items for in-class parties. Room parents can take the items home after each party to wash and return them to the closet.

5. Make recycling available at all school events. The key to good recycling is to make sure the recycle bins are right next to the trash bins. The janitor should use clear plastic bags for the recycle bins so that when they are taken to the dumpster, they can be distinguished from the trash. Contact your waste hauler to see if they can provide temporary containers for large events.