MV Green Event Guide

Preventing Waste at Martha's Vineyard Events

A collaboration of Island Grown Initiative, VCS, and Sail MV

This MV Green Event Guide will aim to:
  • Decrease your disposal costs by reducing the waste stream
  • Generate less trash sent off-island to the incinerator or landfill
  • Demonstrate your commitment to a more sustainable Martha's Vineyard
  • Track your waste to serve as a baseline, so that your next Island event could be truly Zero Waste (meaning NO waste at all!)
Waste Station Setup

Set up Waste Station areas that are centralized with clearly marked bins:

Compost (green container)
Island Grown Initiative can compost these items: Fruits & vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, pasta, bread, dairy, meat & seafood, coffee, filters & tea bags, napkins & paper towels. At this moment, compostable, "green" service wear is not accepted by IGI’s composter. 

Recycling (blue container)
Recyclables need to be kept clean (no food or liquids)
The best practice is to pick in this order: cardboard, aluminum, glass bottles, and plastic (at last resort!)

Trash (black container)
Bound for the landfill

Food Waste

Island Grown Initiative offers two types of food waste rescue services. Or, you can DIY and drop off your event's food waste at your local transfer station.

Full Waste Station: Festivals, Street Fairs, Large Group Events
Register Waste Station rental with Sophie Mazza (email, for more details see website

Small Waste Kit: Events of Any Size
Includes signage to affix to bins and a 5-gal bucket for food waste

Pick up the "Waste Kit" 1-3 days before your event at IGI’s Farm Hub (directions). Then, your team drops off the food waste: 
  • Bring it to IGI’s Farm Hub and deposit in food waste bins outside the farm for free
  • Or, drop food waste at Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Chilmark, West Tisbury transfer stations; cost is $2 per 5-gallon bucket.

No Single-Use Plastic
  • Avoid plastic bottles, cups, straws, utensils, plastic food wrap, etc.
  • Set up water filling stations with reusable glassware.
  • Keep it real! Use reusable glassware, china plates, utensils, cloth napkins, etc. instead of disposables.
Recommendations for Disposables
Only if you must use them! There are no perfect disposables on the market, but here are some of our suggestions for how to make the best of an imperfect situation. 

For food (i.e. to-go packaging)
YES: products that are PFAS free
YES: products made from untreated/uncoated paper or untreated paper lined with PLA
NO: #6 plastic, i.e. polystyrene including both foam and rigid forms
NO: molded fiber products, i.e. wheat fiber, blends of plant fibers, silver grass (miscanthus),
sugarcane byproduct (bagasse), molded recycled paper, and PLA-lined molded sugarcane

For liquids
YES: PLA (plant-based) plastic **THIS NEEDS TO GO INTO TRASH**

Some brands we recommend: EcoProducts Vanguard line (certified PFAS-free), Sabert, Primeware

Green Team

The "Green Team" are responsible for monitoring the waste stations, keeping the event litter free, and sorting waste for maximum resource recovery. For a successful event, you will want a Green Team staffed with one point person and several trained volunteers for each waste station. 

Track Your Waste

Tracking the waste from your event will help develop a baseline so that your next event can approach true "Zero Waste" status -- something to be proud of!

Some ideas of data you may collect:
  • Number of patrons at the event
  • Pounds of food waste sent to a composting facility
  • Pounds of recyclables, including glass, plastic, aluminum, cardboard

About this Initiative

This collaboration among Island Grown Initiative, Vineyard Conservation Society, and Sail MV aims to educate event planners and caterers on Martha's Vineyard on the importance of saying "no" to plastic, preventing and recycling food waste, and how to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.

A few waste facts to consider -- and share!

Food Waste
  • 40% of food in the United States today goes uneaten
  • That amounts to $165 billion worth of food a year
  • Monthly, Americans throw away about $40 worth a food, or 20 pounds per household (above stats from NRDC and/or EPA)
  • On Martha's Vineyard, 6,500 tons of wasted food leaves on the ferry, bound for disposal in landfills and incinerators off-Island
Ocean Plastic Pollution
  • An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the oceans every year (Jambeck 2015)
  • Only 9% of plastic waste has been recycled (Geyer 2017)
  • Plastics make up 60-80% of marine debris (Derraik 2002)
  • Plastics have been found in mussels and oysters (Janssen 2014)
  • Anthropogenic debris was found in 67% of fish species sampled (Rochman 2015)
  • Most seabirds are ingesting plastics, with plastic fragments found in 71% of fulmar and 100%
  • of phalarope stomachs examined (Nevins et al. 2005)

For questions and free consultation contact
Vineyard Conservation Society:
Sail Martha's Vineyard:
Island Grown Initiative: