Zero Waste Initiative

Picnics, camping, weddings, races — go Zero Waste in the parks. Reduce the amount of natural resources that are used by making careful choices before, during, and after your event and reduce your impact on the environment. Use reusable items whenever possible and recycle or compost the rest. A Zero Waste Event produces less than 1 ounce of trash per person.

Watch A Video About Zero Waste Events

Designated Zero Waste Venues

As a part of our Zero Waste Initiative, the following requirements have been installed at our featured facilities and other rental spaces. Guests are encouraged to uphold these practices throughout our park district. Failure to comply with these practices may result in the loss of damage deposit.



  • Washable dinnerware, cutlery, glassware, linens and linen napkins
  • Compostable paper products, cutlery, drinkware, table coverings and napkins

Not Allowed

  • Single-serving bottles of water, juice or carbonated beverages in plastic bottles
  • Food served in disposable plastic or Styrofoam containers

Planning Your Zero Waste Event

While the main philosophy behind a Zero Waste event revolves around the three R’s — reduce, reuse, recycle — the most important to keep in mind is reduce. By reducing the amount of resources we use, we are conserving them.

Common practices throughout the event planning process produce additional waste in the form of invitations, transportation emissions or single-use party favors. For creative solutions to reduce your event’s environmental impact, or for more information about Three Rivers Zero Waste Initiative, download the Zero Waste Event Checklist.

Compostable Products

Three Rivers is proud to supply a limited quantity of compostable products, which are available for purchase for your event. Restocking times vary due to current intermittent shipping delays. Please allow at least 2 weeks for order processing.

For more information please contact park staff or call our Reservations Office at 763-559-6700 to make your purchase over the phone.

Item Quantity Price
9 oz. squat cold cups 50 $12
12 oz. cold cups 50 $12.75
12 oz. hot cups 50 $12.75
6" dessert plates 50 $5.50
9" dinner plates 50 $14.50
6 oz. dessert bowls 50 $8.50
11.5 oz. soup bowls 50 $8.50
Forks 50 $6
Knives 50 $6
Spoons 50 $6
Dinner napkins 50 $6
Beverage napkins 100 $5.50

Why do Zero Waste Venues Prohibit Plastic?

Although some plastics are accepted in well-known municipal recycling programs, plastics are not often recycled back into their original forms. Instead they are down-cycled into secondary mixed-plastic materials that cannot be recycled again.

By avoiding these plastic materials altogether, we reduce any potential negative impact on our environment. Three Rivers encourages the use of products that are both convenient for our facilities and far more environmentally friendly.

What does "Compostable" mean?

Unlike products labeled “biodegradable,” compostable products degrade within several months in commercial compost facilities without producing toxic residues. Compostability is a desirable feature in disposable products such as plates, bowls, cups and cutlery. These products are commonly made out of sugarcane fibers or vegetable starch. It’s important to use products clearly labeled compostable and have the BPI Certification logo.