PEF: Inspiring the Future with Zero Waste

“A Zero Waste event, this was a first for us.”

If you attended the Pasadena Educational Foundation’s event, Celebrating Our Schools INSPIRE 2023, you might have noticed that there was little to no plastic used. This new Zero Waste effort was championed by our committee chair and board member Mabell Garcia Paine.

The PEF team took a proactive approach to creating a Zero Waste event by meticulously planning and implementing sustainable practices. One of the cornerstones of a Zero Waste event is the careful selection of materials. PEF opted for reusable or compostable items whenever possible.

• Cutlery, plates, and napkins were made from bamboo. Bamboo takes approximately 3 years to completely break down and releases 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere than the same volume of trees.
• Drinks were served in glass, ceramic, or compostable cups which minimized the environmental impact of using single-use plastics.
• Serving utensils and containers were either reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
• Reusable water and drink dispenser stations were available instead of disposable water bottles.
• All food was provided in variable portion sizes such as half sandwiches and small portions.
• Fabric tablecloths were rented and returned for reuse.
• Bar provided poured bottled water, poured wine, and beer in glasses. All beverages were provided in glass bottles.

At the end of the event, leftover food was delivered to Union Station by Mabell and event staff counted the number of trash bags at the end of the night to create a baseline for next year’s event. This year we had 26 bags of trash (not all full) and delivered 6 trays of food.

A special thanks to Vice Mayor Felicia Williams for lending her expertise and guidance on working with the city and waste management. Trash bags from the event at Pasadena City Hall is collected by commercial haulers (e.g. Athens, Waste Management) and taken to a material recovery facility where the waste is separated to target the 75% landfill diversion required by law.

“We are grateful to all who attended for supporting our efforts toward a greener future for our community and our planet.

Thank you!”

Pasadena Educational Foundation

Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for public education, engages the community, and develops resources to support excellence and equity for all Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) students. Whether it be through the arts, music, health centers, gardens, or STEM programs they support, PEF is dedicated to creating a better future for the public school students of Altadena, Pasadena, and Sierra Madre.





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