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Three Zeros Day Highlights
The day event highlighted ways in which members of the community can reduce waste and learn about sustainability options, while serving ice cream and tabling with zero waste impact. 
(Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)
On Sep. 25, UNC-Chapel Hill celebrated Three Zeros Day on Polk Place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students passing through the quad learned what the Three Zeros Environmental Initiative has already accomplished and how students can make a positive contribution to the goals through individual actions such as reducing plastic use, understanding low impact transportation options in Chapel Hill and turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth.

The event was a zero-waste event, which can be difficult to accomplish, but there are many ways that student groups can achieve this at all of their events on campus. Before the event, if your organization chooses catering by Carolina Catering, make sure to select “Green Event” on the form, so there will be compost bags for food waste available at the event. You will also need someone by the bags to make sure that none of the materials in the compost bags are not compostable. Be conscience of marketing materials- try not to use printed flyers or posters to promote your event.

During the tabling event, there were several decisions made in an effort to reduce waste. Here’s how Three Zeros hosted a green day event:

  • Serving Maple View Farm ice cream in cones. For those who were unable to eat ice cream cones, Three Zeros provided cups, straws and napkins that students could compost in nearby bins.
  • Making the event easily accessible by foot or bike.
  • Serving food with a low carbon footprint. Three Zeros served Maple View Farm ice cream from 10 miles outside campus, which supported local agriculture and kept carbon emissions from transportation low.
  • Encouraging partner organizations to not use disposable materials at their tables, like flyers or coupons.
  • Digitizing the survey at Three Zeros Day, which meant students did not need printed versions.
Three Zeros Day Reception
The 2018 Three Zeros Day Reception was zero waste as well.

In the evening, invite-only reception was hosted at CURRENT ArtSpace + Studio in Carolina Square. Attendees discussed their involvement with Three Zeros over food and drink and listened to speeches by Three Zeros leaders including Chancellor Carol Folt and Chief Sustainability Officer Brad Ives. This event was also zero waste, proving it can be done in more formal settings as well. Here’s how Three Zeros hosted a sustainable reception:

  • Digitizing the invitations.
  • Encouraging guests to use public transportation, carpool, walk and bike to the event.
  • Keeping the event zero waste with reusable cups and flatware.
  • Using compostable name tags.
  • Ordering cloth linens for table, rather than plastic table cloths.
  • Purchasing vases and decorations from the Durham Scrap Exchange.
  • Decorating the tables with pollinator-friendly centerpieces from a local flower farm, which were donated to Edible Campus after the event.
  • Sourcing beer and wine from Carolina Brewery, a local craft brewery.
  • Sourcing vegetarian food from Carolina Catering, which works closely with local farmers to get the freshest, in-season ingredients.

If your organization or department needs help understanding the elements of hosting a green event, please contact the Three Zeros Environmental Initiative for suggestions at

By: Maddie Omeltchenko

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