How can you help the 2023 Fest be the most sustainable yet? See a few easy tips below.

True/False believes in our responsibility to future generations to do what is environmentally and socially just for our local and global community. Our mid-Missouri home is a beautiful place, and we’re pleased to have your help keeping our shared space a sublime place to discover beauty and art. We encourage patrons and staff alike to follow these tips and always be mindful about cleaning up after themselves; leaving spaces as we found them!

Sustainability at True/False: It’s a Core Value

Here are some of the initiatives that make T/F sustainable:

Reducing & Reusing & Recycling

Starting in 2019, True/False is straw free and encouraging local restaurants to do the same. True/False uses reusable plates and flatware when possible. These dishes can prevent the need for nearly 450 disposable place-settings. The City of Columbia’s Solid Waste Utility provides additional recycling bins and dumpsters dispersed throughout downtown and monitored by the Green Team. Fest-goers are encouraged to recycle all glass, aluminum, hard plastics, and paper products. By paying extra attention to what attendees toss and where, T/F can reduce landfill contributions.

Greener Transportation

True/False is a centrally located, walkable, bikeable, mass transit accessible Fest. Out-of-town guests are encouraged to rent bikes from local shops and are provided additional bike parking racks by Columbia Parks and Recreation. Bike riders can stop by the bike check station for free tune-ups, safety tips, and inspections compliments of Walt’s Bike Shop.

Energy and Water Usage

True/False T-shirts are cut and sewn in solar-powered facilities by a company committed to clean energy. Their products are dyed in the U.S. with an eco-friendly certified dye using a process that requires seven times less water than the average manufacturer.

Green Artistry

We take Zero Waste one creative step further. T/F installations and materials management team are experts in repurposing supplies and materials, integrating found and recycled supplies and art pieces from previous years into inspiring new displays. We remake, repurpose, and offer unique items for sale in our T/F merch store, and welcome local artisans to join us in our quest to reduce our waste. We’re happy to connect artists, creators, and makers with individuals, businesses, and organizations who have unwanted or surplus materials to donate.

Our Impact

Waste Diversion

In the past three years, we’ve been increasing the amount of waste we are able to divert from the landfill. The below graph indicates the combined recycling and compost numbers in lbs from our primary events and collections from around Columbia from 2017 to 2019.

Event Diversion

Each year we calculate our diversion rates (amount of waste from that event’s total waste that we were able to divert from the landfill) at our four largest events: Jubilee, Reality Bites, Fete, Closing Reception. For the past 3 consecutive years we’ve reached between 85-90% and hope to improve this number where possible in future.

*90% diversion rates are considered “Zero Waste”


Since 2017, we’ve increased our compost program by around 500 lbs, accounting for food waste from our key events, behind the scenes festival spaces, and growing number of local restaurants participating in our compost initiatives. 


We continue to expand our recycling efforts by increasing event coverage, practicing more diligent sorting techniques, and improving volunteer and Fest goer education. By measuring our waste and collecting data of our efforts, we are able to more accurately track our progress toward our zero waste goal.


2018: Mayor’s Award for our continued efforts in reusing through artistry, composting, recycling and reducing single-use items. The Green Team has achieved a diversion rate of over 87% and continues to educate staff, students, volunteers and Fest goers on the importance of environmental responsibility.
2017: Innovative Best Practices for our efforts to reuse and recycle throughout the festival, including previous landfill diversion rate of over 90%, have shown their dedication to being environmentally sustainable.