Open Space Breakout Rooms

October 26, 2023 from 10:45 am to 11:15 am

Speaker: Breakout Rooms

Times are listed in Pacific Standard Time

With a limited number of scheduled slots in the conference program, we understand that no single conference can cover all of the most important topics that attendees wish to learn about, share about, and explore together.

To further the possibilities of what a virtual conference can be, this year we are seeking to create space for conference attendees to connect and discuss those topics that are most relevant and feel most urgent to them. On Day 2 of the conference at 10:45 a.m., we will open up the Open Space Breakout Rooms. Two 30-minute sessions at different times throughout the day will provide attendees the opportunity to enter a topic-based room that they have proposed or that another attendee has proposed. Once the rooms open at 10:45 a.m., they will stay open all day.

The breakout rooms will be based on Open Space Technology (OST). OST is a methodology of running large group meetings or events around a central topic where participants create the agenda themselves. The process is designed to be highly participatory, inclusive and collaborative. We believe that attendees of this conference are leaders with insights to share about moving businesses, institutions, and communities toward Zero Waste. We hope that these rooms will add to the overall experience, much like the in-between times at an in-person conference. We expect attendees to engage in respectful and self-aware dialogue with their fellow Zero Waste colleagues while in these rooms.

How it will work:

  1. Between October 5 and October 22, attendees submitted  Open Space Breakout Room topic ideas.
  2. We curated 25 Open Space Breakout Room topics based on the submissions (see below).
  3. At the launch of the Open Space Breakout Rooms, attendees will choose which of the 25 breakout rooms to join. 
  4. You decide how to spend your time during the two 30-minute Open Space Breakout Room sessions. You can choose to go all-in on a single topic. Or you can choose to be a ‘bumblebee’, someone who jumps from session to session, or a ‘butterfly’, someone who chooses not to join a session at all.

The 2023 Open Space Breakout Room Topics:

  • Accountability and Transparency in Zero Waste Programs
  • Businesses
  • Climate & Zero Waste
  • Composting & Organics Management
  • Data & Metrics 
  • Economic Benefits of Zero Waste
  • Environmental Justice & Equity
  • Events
  • Food Donation & Food Security
  • Food Waste Reduction and Recovery
  • Fossil Fuels & Extraction
  • Global Perspectives
  • Global Plastics Treaty
  • Hard to Recycle – Film Plastics
  • Hard to Recycle – Textiles
  • Incineration
  • Informal Waste Sector & Livelihoods
  • K-12 Schools
  • Outreach & Engagement
  • Reuse
  • Reuse Economy
  • Source Reduction
  • Universities
  • Waste Colonialism
  • Zero Waste Packaging Solutions

When it will happen:

  • Open Space Breakout Room sessions will open at 10:45 a.m. 
  • Two 30 minute sessions will be dedicated to Open Space Breakout Room discussions, at 10:45 a.m. and at 2:45 p.m.
  • Attendees are encouraged to join the programmed conference sessions that begin 30 minutes after each Open Space Breakout Room session. 

Fundamentals of OST:

  1. Whoever comes are the right people
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time (keeping in mind the time restraints in this context)
  4. When it’s over it’s over (keeping in mind the time restraints in this context, but if you want to remain in a room beyond the designated 30 minutes, that is up to you)

Learn more about OST at: