Success Stories

People and organizations throughout the Twin Cities metro area are finding their shade of green. From birthday parties to summer festivals, see what events of all sizes have done to be environmentally-friendly and the lessons they have learned.

To find a success story, select a topic filter – either by event type or size. A complete list of success stories is included below.

6th Annual La Familia Latino Family Festival & Expo

The largest Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in the Midwest informs and provide resources for over 4,000 Latino attendees on health, home and auto, books and publications, education, culture, technology, and travel and entertainment. In 2008 the event did not print 30,000 tickets, rather tickets could be printed off of the event’s website. The event was also promoted through an email blast rather than mailing out 10,00 invites.

Autumn Brew Review

This annual festival is held near the historic grounds of the old Grain Belt brewing complex in NE Minneapolis. Entertaining and educating over 3,000 attendees on the great craft beer brewed in this state and beyond. This outdoor festival also has great music and food to enhance the lively atmosphere brought by the attendees! Presented by the Minnesota Craft Brewer's Guild -

Baby Shower

A local resident planned a baby shower in Iowa for her sister. Waste reduction was achieved by providing reusable dishes and linens, and displaying decorations and centerpieces that could be used by the new mom and baby instead of single-use items. Local food and flowers were also incorporated into the menu, and food waste was composted in a backyard compost bin.

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta: 2010

REDA has produced Cinco de Mayo Fiesta (Minnesota's Spiciest Celebration) for 28 years. It's the largest Hispanic/Latino event of any kind in Minnesota and one of the 10 largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the country. Annually bringing over 100,000 people most of the event is coordinated by a dedicated group of volunteers.

Community POWER Training

The Community POWER grant program offers quarterly training for grantees on solid waste-related issues. One challenge of hosting the training is finding an affordable caterer that can offer local and organic food and real dishware.

Derby Day Party

My friend has a party on Derby Day every year, and last year we decided to collect organics for recycling. At the end of the night, we'd collected 13.2 pounds of compostables and 6 ounces of trash. The trash consisted of about 20 straws, a few single-serving butter wrappers and a diaper. We also collected 30.2 pounds of glass bottles, aluminum cans and plastic bottles. My friend knew there wouldn't be much trash after all the food and paper waste were collected, but she was amazed at just how little we ended up with.

Grand Old Day: 2010

Grand Old Day is a one-day festival including a run/walk/rollerblade race, parade, family activities, sporting organizations, art fair, 7 festival gardens and over 150 food/merchandise vendors. The event spans 2.5 miles down Grand Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Green Practices for the Hotel and Restaurant Industry

Green Practices for the Hotel and Restaurant Industry for the 2008 Republican National Convention and Beyond was an event co-hosted by GreenGatherings and Hospitality Minnesota, an association representing Minnesota's resorts, campgrounds, hotels and restaurants. The event provided greening resources to MN hospitality business owners.

GreenGatherings Kick-off Meeting

The GreenGatherings partners hosted a kick-off meeting to launch the project with key stakeholders, including government agencies, private companies, and non-profit organizations. Paper reduction efforts were probably the meeting’s biggest success. Approximately 1,037 sheets of paper or 12% of one tree were saved.

Linden Hills Neighborhood Festival

An estimated 4,000 attendees to an annual volunteer-run neighborhood festival - with food, family-friendly fun, silent auction, art fair, community marketplace, bike parade and more...and less than a bag of trash at the end of the event!

Race for the Cure

Race for the Cure is a walk/run event to raise money for breast cancer research starting at the Mall of America. The 2009 event diverted over 20 tons of recyclables from the trash and saved $1,588.00.

Retirement Picnic

A retirement picnic in Minneapolis goes green.

Roseville Earth Day Event

The Roseville Earth Day celebration includes exhibits, arts and crafts and a pancake breakfast for 500 people. The biggest success has been taking an event where everything used to end up in the trash and turning it into an event where next to nothing was put in the trash.

Roseville Home and Garden Fair

Approximately 1,000 people attend the Roseville Home and Garden Fair, which includes exhibitors, seminars and food service. The fair worked closely with vendors to encourage waste reduction practices, including not handing out candy in wrappers and reducing the number of disposable trinket giveaways.

Roseville Wild Rice Festival

The Wild Rice Festival includes exhibitors, entertainment and food service, and has around 600 participants. The festival recognized the importance with ensuring volunteers is aware of the numerous environmentally-friendly initiatives happening throughout the day.

Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board Communications Team Meetings

The regional communications team meets monthly and consciously limits handouts, provides handouts and agendas electronically. Using a laptop and projector have been helpful in going paper-free at meetings.

Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board Social Media Training

A half-day training, sponsored by the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board, about how government and non-profit organizations can maximize on popular social marketing tools.

Trinity Lutheran Church Lutefisk Dinner

Making a lutefisk dinner green was pretty easy! Finding a plate that didn't soak through with all the melted butter, white sauce, meatball gravy and of course lutefisk wasn't as hard as we thought it might be!

Urban Wildland Half Marathon and 5k

The Urban Wildland Half Marathon and 5k is a green race supporting environmental education programs of Wood Lake Nature Center. One of the biggest successes of the event is saving approximately 20,000 cups from landfills.

YWCA Triathlon Aug. 2010

About 1,000 female athletes compete in a 500 yd swim/15 mile bike/2.5 mile run at Lake Nokomis.

YWCA Women's Triathlon August 2012

About 1,000 female athletes competed in a 500 yd swim/15 mile bike/2.5 mile run at Lake Nokomis. Race organizers wanted to build upon their low-waste efforts of the last two years, and made a number of sustainability pledges through FitPlanet, such as online-only registration, no disposable plastic water bottles, and composting of all food and serviceware.