indianapolis zero waste

How to host a zero waste meetup in your city

How to host a zero waste meetup in your city - Green Indy Blog (header)

I’ve been plotting and thinking about how to a zero waste meetup here in Indianapolis for a few months.

While I don’t feel like I’m a zero waste master by any stretch of the imagination, I’ve learned that often you don’t have to be the best at something, you just have to be the one to get the ball rolling!

To that end, I’ve finally decided it’s time to bite the bullet and be the one to officially offer to host a zero waste meetup here in Indy! If you’re in the area, here are the exciting deets. (If you’re not in the area, skip below for tips on how to get one started yourself!)

  1. The event will be at Coat Check Coffee, a great local cafe where the owner has already asked to sit in on our talks to get feedback about how to make the cafe more zero waste!
  2. Celia from Litterless will be swinging by her old stomping grounds to co-host and share her ridiculous wealth of knowledge!
  3. The theme of the event is ‘show & tell‘ – bring your favorite zero waste item or hack to share. Newbies totally welcome to soak it all in!

Please RSVP on the Facebook event so we can get an accurate idea of who’s coming!

So. There’s my schpiel. Feel ready to start your own local revolution? Here are four tips to get your started:

Psyche yourself up. Decide to just do it.

As a fairly unsociable creature by nature, I wasn’t all too excited about hosting an event but sometimes you have to step up and be the leader. So just do it.

There’s no perfect time, perfect place, or perfect group of people waiting for you.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who are interested in zero waste, already dedicated to zero waste, or just curious about the idea – no matter where you are.

It helps to have a central point for sharing information. It could be a Facebook page or even your own dedicated blog. You can start a carbon positive blog with GreenGeeks!

Find a good spot.

Probably the most important bit of the whole event: where to have it. From attempts to organize meetups all over the world (Russia, Armenia, Nicaragua, to name a few), I’ve found it’s pretty universal to post up in a coffee shop.

Coffee shops make sense when you consider my criteria:

  • was locally owned
  • wouldn’t mind a group of people hanging around for an hour or so
  • didn’t cost to host an event
  • showed some interest/inclination toward zero waste

Once you get a larger, more dedicated group of people showing up, then you can move on to more intricate meetups. Workshops, guest speakers, and events with some kind of buy-in are all next level ideas when you get there.

Create a general theme.

At least then if no conversation flows naturally, you’ll have a starting point. Just deeming an event “a meetup” leaves the option open for a lot of awkward interactions; the event will be entirely dependent on how naturally sociable everyone is.

With a theme, there’s an immediate topic available. (But to my last point: don’t get too elaborate in the beginning. A simple topic is more than enough!)

For example, our theme is ‘show and tell’: everyone can bring an item/hack/DIY to show off to other people so there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion, questions, and problem solving!

Don’t put too much pressure on the event.

If it’s your first time hosting an event, get excited about each and every person who came by to join! Sure, there might not have been 200 people, but those four people who showed up sure were excited to be there!

If nothing else, putting together an event gets the ball rolling on a zero waste network in your area. Just knowing there are a few people like you (especially in areas without a strong presence of the eco-minded) is a huge motivation factor!

Just keep trying – eventually your zero waste meetup group will become too big to handle!

Have you ever hosted or attended a zero waste meetup? If so, what tips/tricks can you offer folks? If you haven’t, what would you like to see in one?

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