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  • Coordinate with your food vendor to create a menu that follows Harvard’s Sustainable Meeting Guidelines.
    • Offer a plant-based option for the main dish, like beans, lentils, or tofu and try to make that option the default. Do not offer red or processed meat.
    • Opt for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead of refined grains and sugars.
    • Offer foods that have been prepared in healthy ways (e.g., grilled, baked).
  • Use reusable, recyclable, or compostable serving items.
    • Ask your caterer to use reusable plates, glasses, linens, etc. in place of disposable options.
    • Offer water in pitchers with reusable cups or glasses, instead of single-use water bottles or plastic cups.
  • Reduce food packaging and utensils when serving food.
    • Ask your caterer to serve foods on platters instead of providing boxed lunches.
    • Ask your caterer to provide drinks and condiments (ketchup, mustard, salad dressings, etc.) in bulk instead of individual packages and servings.
    • Consider serving foods that do not need utensils (e.g. sandwiches or wraps, veggies and dips, etc.).
  • Make sure your meeting room has a “waste station” with clearly-marked recycling, compost, and trash bins.
    • If you are conducting a zero-waste event, remove or cover all stand-alone trash cans to encourage attendees to place their waste into one of the other receptacles.
    • Contact the Event Scheduling and Support Office to acquire the correct bins.
  • Coordinate with your caterer to donate leftover food whenever possible. Remaining food and compostable waste should be composted.
  • Provide handouts and meeting materials electronically (online or flash drive) to minimize paper usage.
  • When giveaway items are necessary, choose items that are useful and actively promote health, such as water bottles or reusable tote bags.
  • Ask companies to limit packaging of materials when ordering giveaway items.
  • Use recycled/biodegradable paper.
  • Try using strings of lights, potted plants, and cloth banners and garlands as decorations, instead of disposable decorations such as balloons and items made from polystyrene.
  • For more ideas, check out the Harvard Sustainable Meeting and Event Guide online.