How to Host a Zero Waste Workshop

How to Host a Zero Waste Workshop

Do you feel like you’ve mastered the art of zero waste living? Sharing what you know with others is a great way to take it a step further! Hosting a zero waste workshop is a fun, interactive way to do this. This is a great way to build community and get people thinking about the waste they create. While hosting a workshop is no cake walk (it’s actually a lot of work!), it’ll be well worth it. You’ll inspire individuals to make some sustainable changes they probably wouldn’t have made otherwise. I’ve hosted and participated in a few zero waste workshops by now, so I’m excited to share what I know!

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How to Host a Zero Waste Workshop

How to Host a Zero Waste Workshop

1. Choose a venue: online or in-person?

The first step is to decide – where will your zero waste workshop take place? Will it be in-person or virtual? If it’ll be in person, where’s the meeting location, and what will be the date and time?

As a rule of thumb, here are some good in-person places to host a zero waste workshop:

  • The public library
  • A small café
  • A school
  • A park
  • College campuses
  • At a community garden
  • Community event space
  • A business venue
  • A restaurant
How to Host a Zero Waste Workshop
The library I held my zero waste workshop at – the folders have documents I created about zero waste! Plus they setup some zero waste books to display which I loved.

So far, I’ve had three in-person workshops. One was at a café, another was in a community garden, and another was at a library. Two of these I hosted myself, and another I was participating in with a slew of other vendors and creators.

For the ones I hosted myself, I reached out to the venues via email and set something up. The other one I was invited to attend and I accepted.

If you’re thinking of hosting your workshop at a business, I advise getting to know the owners first, or find like-minded places that share your vision and care about sustainability. This always makes it easier to pitch a workshop.

Be mindful that some places (like a restaurant, business or café) may charge you to use their space. You can always ask what their event and workshop policies are (and don’t be afraid to negotiate).

For a place that’s outdoors, like a park, you may need a permit before you can use the space freely. Do your research first.

Virtual workshops can be held over zoom, google meet, skype, a private YouTube video, or on Crowdcast. If it’s going to be online, make sure you have a strong internet connection, along with a functioning camera and computer. I recommend investing in an ethernet cable to make sure your wifi stays on the whole time!

Also be mindful some of these online services I listed cost money. For example, I hosted an online webinar once and in order to do it, I had to upgrade my Google Meet account (so now it costs ~$13 per month opposed to $6).

The way I see it, these are all part of my businesses expenses, as a blogger. Plus, I charged money for that webinar and made up what I had lost. So you have to weigh the pros and cons and think about what’s sensible for you.

Also, you may need to create some slideshows or some kind of presentation if you’re doing it virtually. I recommend using Canva! I’ve used it for my past online webinar and it went over great – there are so many free graphics, text and photos to choose from.

You’ll also need to figure out a date and time for your event that works for all parties. If it’s outdoors, will there be a rain date? Do you need a table or a tent to setup?

How to Host a Zero Waste Workshop
All the supplies I needed for my latest workshop showing people how to make zero waste body scrub.

2. Decide on the topic + gather supplies

Here’s the fun part! Deciding on what the topic will be and gathering the supplies! Zero waste workshops are a lot of fun when they’re interactive. And that can mean a lot of things!

Here are just a few zero waste workshop ideas and topics to inspire you:

  • Zero waste 101: Teach them what zero waste is and why it matters! Talk about how the average American generates 4.9lbs of trash per day and only 5-6% of plastic is actually recycled (down from 9% in 2018). List off plastic pollution stats and how it impacts sea life, and even US (plastic found in our blood, feces and placentas). Then give them hope by showing your favorite zero waste swaps. Maybe have them do a brainstorm session at the end where they come up with ideas for creating a more circular economy. Give the best group a zero waste prize (reusable straws or utensil-sets are good ideas).
  • DIYs: Have your group make something! There are so many fun zero waste DIYs to try, like lip balm, body scrub, or toothpaste. You can take it a step further by getting all the ingredients for it at a refillery (aka a bulk bin store) or plastic-free. I find people really enjoy making things and getting to keep them. Just be advised – this kind of workshop will require you to buy supplies which can add up! As an example, I spent around $150 on supplies for a body scrub workshop that was designed for 50 people (though I was kindly reimbursed, this may not be the case for you if you’re the one hosting).
  • How tos: Show them how to do something! For example, zero waste gift wrapping would be a great topic and thing to show people. You can also show people how to make something that involves a zero waste skill. Zero Waste Chef does this with her sourdough cooking classes! Can you sew or knit? Show them how to repair their clothes or make their own! Get creative and think – what skill or knowledge do you have others may find valuable?
How to Host a Zero Waste Workshop
My cousin and her boyfriend came to visit me at my body scrub station at Sunday Funday!

3. Decide: Free or priced?

Will your workshop be free, or will there be a price for admission? It’s perfectly acceptable to set a price if you’re going out of your way to buy supplies and educate others.

Technically, even just speaking and giving your time is valuable – so you can charge for that too.

I will say, workshops at libraries will likely be free. Libraries don’t typically have the budget to pay speakers, so I’ve always offered my workshops there for free.

But all the other workshops I’ve done have been priced. In other words, people had to purchase a ticket for access.

The question is, how much? Well, this depends on a number of factors. How many people do you anticipate showing up? What supplies will you need in regards to the number of people at said workshop? How much of your time will you spend creating slideshows, PowerPoints, or documents on behalf of the workshop? How long will the workshop be?

Typically, I like to charge at least $10 entry for my virtual workshops. In person tend to be higher, ranging from $20-$35 per person (depends on what we’re making).

Also, don’t forget some venues may charge you for the use of their area. Or, they may ask for half of the sales you make on your tickets. So make sure you’re charging enough per ticket to make up for this!

For selling tickets, I like to use Eventbrite – they make it super easy to setup an event and tickets within minutes. They even let you set event capacities – so you can plan accordingly (and always know how many people to expect).

How to Host a Zero Waste Workshop
Me at the library I held my zero waste workshop at – it was so much fun!

4. Spread the word

Once you have the basics covered, it’s time to start sharing the news so people will actually show up! You can do this in a multitude of ways.

Here are some ideas to spread the word:

  • If it’s going to be a BIG event, contact the local newspaper and ask them to write an article about it.
  • Is the event on a college campus? Ask them to write an article about it if the college has a newspaper. Also see if you can put up some posters around campus.
  • Start creating Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts. I find a mix of reels, stories and static posts with the information (date, location, time, topic) work well. Make sure to provide links to sign up for the event in your bio and stories. I love using Canva to make my graphics!
  • If you’re having it at a library, usually the library will hand out flyers for the event. But double check this and stay on top of it.
  • If you have a newsletter, make sure to share the news with your following!
  • Word of mouth! Talk to your friends and family about your event. Many will be happy to come out to support you.
How to Host a Zero Waste Workshop

So, will you be hosting your own zero waste workshop? Leave a comment with your tips, or if you found this helpful!

Want to get more involved? Here’s how to build a zero waste community in your neighborhood.

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By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

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