Zero Waste Fest: An Actionable Way to Start off Climate Action Month

By Imani C. Davis


San Francisco zero waste nonprofit Race to Zero Waste is hosting their annual festival and FUNdraiser at Crissy Field on April 1 2023 to kick off Climate Action Month.


The event will include a wasteless 5K run and 1 mile walk at Crissy Field, followed by a Resource Fair at Sports Basement Presidio’s community space, The Dairy.

Race to Zero Waste is a woman-founded and run nonprofit that educates the local San Francisco Bay Area community about the principles of zero waste, defined by the Zero Waste International Alliance as “the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.” The zero waste organization puts on the annual Zero Waste Fest to exemplify fun and actionable ways of how to live by zero waste principles. Strategic Director of Communications Hayden Sloan said of the fest, “So at Zero Waste Fest, we’re,  showing solutions, demonstrating these solutions, that exist now in San Francisco, that people can be implementing or can even borrow from and implement closer to their home.” Zero Waste Fest is their largest annual fundraiser, complete with a raffle, with all proceeds going to fund community work the organization does year round. 


The event, originally known as the Cup-Free & Bib-Free 5K Run to Zero Waste, creates the reality of a zero waste sporting event, while teaching hands-on, actionable skills that attendants can utilize to improve purchase choices and reduce their waste. From showcasing reusable products to teaching how to repair personal items, the resource fair will allow attendants to experience zero waste solutions they can take with them. The annual FUNdraiser, intentionally highlighting fun is meant to demonstrate to attendants that moving towards a zero waste lifestyle is not only important, but can also add enjoyment to one’s regular activities. Sloan explained, “it’s our FUNdraiser and fun is capitalized. Right. And so the idea is that part of partially that zero waste can be fun, right?” Sloan continued by explaining the impact the funds raised have in continuing to expand zero waste spaces and events. “But it’s also a fundraiser and the fundraiser part of it benefits the Zero Waste Stations that we are putting together. So we have Zero Waste Stations at Dolores Park and across events. And that’s for our educational campaigns around waste sorting, reuse, and just community education and community involvement.” The organization provides these stations in the community, while also working to help other organizations help themselves and facilitate their own zero waste events. “We’re developing Zero Waste [Station] kits that people can use at, you know, their own community cleanups or their own events. Sort of, as like, an event greening idea, but also to bring Zero Waste education to any event, essentially.” The funds raised will help Race to Zero Waste continue their own work, as well as spread this model to other organizations’ events. 

“Raising FUNds” Illustration by Eduardo Morales/The Guardsman

 The pre-run and walk activities start at 7:30am when registration opens, and the all-day used running shoe donation drive begins. Yoga and stretching starts at 8, before a

and race kick-off. The race and walk will officially begin at 8:30am and go until 9:30, at which point a post-run and walk yoga session, light breakfast and mingling will occur. All run and walk participants will receive a raffle ticket, with winners being called following yoga. Participants can obtain an extra raffle ticket by donating a pair of used running shoes, dressing up as an animal or sea creature, or directly donating to Race to Zero Waste.

From 10:30am-2pm both the shoe drive and Sea Hugger’s demonstrations on plastic-free lifestyles alternatives will be available to attendants. At 11am and 1pm City Surf Project will have demonstrations on wetsuit repair. Additionally, there will be a total of 10-12 organizations tabling at The Dairy inside Sports Basement Presidio.

The ticket price for students is $20, $25 for 5k runners and $15 for 1 mile walkers and children.


Zero Waste Fest is an excellent opportunity for City College of San Francisco students and other SF Bay Area residents to experience the future of joy-filled, educational events with the zero waste event model the fest is built on. Students interested in gaining skills to better reduce and reuse will have many ways to garner that knowledge from environmental organizations at the Resource Fair, as well as the experience of the fest itself, and be able to leave knowing some of the control of waste reduction and product reuse is in their hands.


To learn more about Race to Zero Waste or purchase student tickets for Zero Waste Fest, please visit

The Guardsman