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The Chelsea Zero Waste Coalition’s annual Christmas dinner, hosted at the Chelsea Senior Center (CSC), illustrated a strong example of how community efforts can significantly reduce waste and foster environmental responsibility.

The December event welcomed over 240 guests to a sit-down holiday meal. City leaders, including Mayor Pacheco, Police Chief Kazyak, and Chelsea School District administration and board, volunteered to serve and cleanup.

In the planning stages, attention was given to ensuring the dinner was enjoyable yet produced minimal waste. The use of washable tablecloths, recyclable red paper placemats that were festive enough for guests to take home for reuse, unbleached compostable paper napkins, and compostable dinnerware minimized environmental impact. Even the disposal of leftovers was considered, with food waste being compostable. The Washtenaw Water Resources Department and its Zero Waste program provided composting collection containers.

The event’s waste diversion metrics are telling: with 39.1 pounds of compostables, 2.08 pounds of recyclables, and a mere 1.94 pounds of trash, an impressive 96% of waste was diverted from the landfill.

The Chelsea Zero Waste Coalition invites those interested in making their events more sustainable to reach out via their Facebook page or email, offering resources and support for those aiming to embrace zero waste principles.

Photos courtesy of CSC

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