Green Living Tips for Community Groups


 Tackling The basics

Recycle & compost

 Ensure your meeting and gathering places are equipped with recycling and compost bins. Encourage members to use them and think about ways to reduce waste at your functions.

Learn about Halton Region's waste diversion workshops for community groups here.

Say NO to bottled water

At meetings and gatherings, supply cool tap water in a pitcher or jug, along with reusable cups, or encourage people to bring their own. Bottled water consumes a lot of energy and resources unnecessarily, and produces much waste. Help spread the message. Learn more on our bottled water page.

Encourage walking, biking, carpooling & transit use

 Where safe to do so, encourage members to use the above forms of transportation to get to your gatherings. Ensure suitable and secure bike parking is available.

Ready For More?

Make all your events 'green'

If you're holding an event, strive to make it a 'green' one.

  • Make waste minimization a goal during the planning process. Use washable and reusable plates, cutlery, and cups where possible. Otherwise, choose paper plates over styrofoam, which are compostable. Styrofoam plates & cups and plastic cutlery can neither be recycled nor composted in Halton Region. Note that plastic cups and cutlery sold as biodegradable or compostable, are not accepted in Halton's green bin program (or blue bin), due to the length of time required to break down, and must go in the garbage.

  • You can check what items go in blue or green bins, and what goes in the garbage, using Halton's searchable "Put Waste in Its Place" tool. (Other regions have similar tools). Note: one of the most commonly misplaced items is coffee cups & lids. Did you know that in Halton Region paper coffee cups and takeout cups go in the green bin, and plastic lids go in blue bin? Plastic straws and stir sticks go in the garbage. (If no green bin is available, paper cup goes in garbage.)  Many people incorrectly put coffee cups in the blue bin. (Note: each region is different, so if outside Halton, check your Region's guide). Also, note that Halton Region requests that plastic caps from beverage bottles be removed and put in the garbage, for processing reasons.

  • Know that if you put bins out in the general public area at your event, they will nearly always get contaminated, and will need a volunteer(s) to sort the recyclables (blue bin) & compostables (green bin) during or after the event to put items in their correct bin. In fact, if you are holding a larger event and have requested large blue & green totes from Halton Region, they stipulate that you can't place them out in public areas, for this reason. Keep the totes behind an area not accesible to the public, and then your trained volunteer(s) can sort into them. You can still put coloured bins out for the public so they can try to do their part by putting in the correct bin, but then bring the full bins/bags over to the main sorting area for final sorting into the totes. Or, you can choose to not put out any bins/cans, and event guests can drop off their waste at a table for sorting by a volunteer or be guided on what bin to put their waste in.

    There are a variety of models to choose from, depending on the size of your event, amount of people helping, and amount of waste generated (events with food trucks tend to produce more waste). Whatever method is used, it is ideal for event guests to play some role in helping deposit their waste in the correct bin, so people learn that when they go to an event, they are responsible for their own waste, rather than throwing it in a garbage can for someone else to take care of.

    Note: if you are hosting a smaller event at a City facility (eg. park, community centre), you can enquire with your event permit liaison at the City to see if it is okay to place recyclables from the event in the facility's blue totes or large Moloks ('dome things'), if they are available. (That is, collect your recyclables in 1 or 2 large clear bags and then transfer them over at the end of the event.)  The same may work for green bin items as well. For larger events with more waste, you may have to request totes be delivered from Halton Region (advance notice is required).

  • Discourage the use of individual bottled water and request that people bring their own refillable drink cups or bottles. Have cool tap water on hand for refills. This can be provided in pitchers for smaller meetings, or a water cooler jug or camping jug for larger events. Several parks and facilities already have water refill stations or fountains available for public use. You can also enquire with the city about using their portable water bar (fountain) at your event if you have a potable water supply to hook up to (you may also need a supply of paper cups for those who forget to bring their re-usable cup or bottle. Paper cups can usually be disposed of in Halton's green bins).

  • If serving coffee and tea, make it organic and fair-trade.

  • Try to host your event in a central location and encourage carpooling, walking, biking or use of transit. Ensure safe, secure bike parking is available.

  • Promote events electronically (email) or use recycled or FSC certified paper with vegetable-based ink for your event posters and signs.

  • Communicate to attendees that you are striving to hold a 'green' event, so they understand the goal and can do their part.

  • Try to use reusable materials for all your event supplies (name tags, reuse volunteer t-shirts, refillable &/or biodegradable pens)

  • Say no to balloon releases as part of your event. Released balloons eventually end up littering our waterways and landscapes, endangering wildlife. If you use stationary balloons, ensure they are popped before placing in the garbage.
  • Purchase offsets for the energy your event uses to ensure a clean, green gathering.

  • Support local businesses for your event supply needs and local farmers for your food supply.

  • Include "green teams" at your event to collect and sort all waste to divert all your recyclables and organics from the landfill.

  • Visit our Event Greening page to learn about BurlingtonGreen's greening service. Our schedule is busy, but we might be able to accommodate your event. Otherwise, you can email us with any questions you may have and we'll try to help.

  • If you would like BurlingtonGreen to have a display booth, or possibly speak at your event, please contact us.

If you want to take your event greening a step further, consider using the ISO 20120 Standard for sustainable events as a tool.

Help promote awareness campaigns

Here are some suggestions. Some allow you to register your group to help out the campaign.

Also, see our Environmental Awareness & Action Days page for a full list of days you can help promote. Days and events are also listed on our Events Calendar.

Take a tour

Halton Region offers some interesting tours of its facilities, such as their drinking water treatment facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, and a youth tour of their waste management site on Hwy 25 (landfill).

Take a tour of the Grow to Give garden at Central Park. Learn more here.
Arrange a tour of MEC's green building on Brant St. Learn more here and here.

Organize a tree planting

Organize a tree planting somewhere in the city that needs it. How about as part of National Tree Day? Please be sure to plant native tree species. You will need to get the all the necessary permissions for your chosen location. Check out our Clean Up Green Up page for more information

Also, if you need assistance, consider contacting Tree Canada. Remember, it is the law to Call Before You Dig to have a free locate done of any underground utilities, at least one week in advance. Please respect power line safe distances.

Plan your own clean up event

 Visit our Clean Up Green Up page for how to put together your own event. Also, consider coordinating a cleanup as part of WWF Canada's Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup year-round.

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