Any event can be both successful and sustainable. Try and include sustainability as a factor in your decision making. Even if you only implement a few of the Green Event ideas and tips provided, you will still make a difference.


Food & Beverage

  • Don't serve bottled water. Instead, ask for pitchers of water. If you are not using a caterer, purchase a few pitchers for your events.
  • The cups (hot and cold) supplied by NYU Law Special Events and Culinart are compostable. Note that the clear cups supplied by NYU Law Special Events are made of compostable material; example in photo at right. All paper cups are compostable or recyclable (if composting is not available) and all plastic cups are recyclable.
  • The utensils supplied by NYU Law Special Events and Culinart are compostable. If you are not using NYU Law Special Events or Culinart for the event and are purchasing plastic utensils, be sure to recycle them.
  • Avoid food waste by ordering carefully and, when appropriate, encourage attendees to bring containers to take home leftovers.
  • Try to procure all food (directly or through a caterer) from a locally sourced, USDA Organic or Northeast Organic Farm Association certified, and/or Fair Trade certified whenever possible. Check out caterers in the NYU area that offer sustainable options.
  • Provide salt, pepper, cream, jam, milk, sugar, etc. in bulk dispensers rather than providing individual packages.
  • Use reusable dishware when possible.
  • If appropriate for the event, ask/remind attendees to bring their own reusable cups/mugs.
  • Avoid the use of styrofoam plates, containers and cups as styrofoam is not recyclable or compostable.
  • Eliminate excess food packaging. If box lunches are necessary, request that they be packaged in recyclable containers.
  • Serve bite-size or finger foods as these items require no utensils.


Invitations & Publications

  • If handouts are required, print on both sides of the paper.
  • Use only 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
  • Use reusable plastic name tag holders and request participants to return them at the end of the event for reuse. Provide a bin at the exit for this purpose.
  • Provide attendees with copies of presentations, handouts or transcripts via email or online.
  • Reduce the size of the font, margins and line spacing to reduce the number of pages.
  • Only print handouts if they are truly necessary for the event.
  • Use new media and electronic technology whenever possible to cut down on paper usage. For example: create an event web site; offer electronic registration and confirmations; create an electronic invitation.
  • Print addresses directly onto envelopes/brochures when mailing event publicity, avoiding the use of address labels.
  • Include information about your sustainability objectives in your materials.
  • Use white boards with non-toxic markers or chalkboards instead of paper flip charts.
  • Avoid using dates on signage so they can be used again for other events.
  • Ask participants to provide their own paper and writing utensils.



  • Before your event, make sure there are recycling bins and trash bins.
  • After your event, be sure turn off all lights and equipment.
  • All food waste and disposable serviceware (soiled cups, plates, utensils, napkins, stirrers) supplied by NYU Law Special Events or Culinart in the following locations are compostable. These items are placed in the compost bin by the catering/building staff.
    Vanderbilt Hall (Faculty Library, Greenberg Lounge, Golding Lounge, Snow Dining Room)
    Furman Hall (Wachtell Cafe, Pollock Colloquium)
    D'Agostino Hall (Lipton Hall, Faculty Club)
  • Use live plants, natural materials (pumpkins, pine cones, produce, etc.), or reusable or donatable materials for centerpieces and other decorations. Raffle off plants to participants or donate to local schools or charities. Minimize the use of disposable items (for example, cut flowers) and helium balloons.
  • Provide information in event materials to encourage the use of public transportation.