A tiered stair step of floating blocks in light purple, dark blue, and mint colors that read “SZW” going down.

Students for Zero Waste Conference

SZW is PLAN's annual community-building conference.

From the first gathering in 2014, the Students for Zero Waste (SZW) Conference has served as a space for network-building, inspiration, and solution sharing to push the movement forward. Join students, staff, industry innovators, activists, and community members from across the country each Fall. We prioritize holistic solutions to zero waste that center the needs of those most impacted by the Waste Crisis and systems of oppression. View the 2023 Program to get a sense of what an SZW looks like.


We’re thrilled to bring back SZW as a national-scale conference hosted on a college campus! Over the conference weekend, join via our digital conference platform or in-person at Swarthmore College for student-led panels, skills-building workshops, discussion groups, and field trips. As always, our tickets are sold on a sliding scale with group discounts for our Member Campuses.


This year's SZW weekend consists of events Friday evening, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning.

Friday evening will start off the conference weekend with affinity group breakouts and PLAN's signature "Unconference" — informal, attendee-led discussion groups to break the ice. Saturday is the fullest conference day with a keynote and welcome, three concurrent panel session blocks, and group meals. Finally, Sunday will consist of group field trip activities ranging from a hands-on art project, volunteering with a local organization, an environmental justice tour, and a virtual tour option. We'll close out the conference with an Activity Fair of giveaways, crafting, tablings, performances and more! View the full program here!

COVID Policy

PLAN is committed to creating a safe in-person environment for attendees. To ensure that SZW is equitably accessible to all, we are requiring masking in all indoor conference spaces. We have Attendee COVID Protocols outlining our encouraged practices prior to conference travel, required protocols in the conference space, and accommodations we’re providing. If you have any questions, reach out to Rachael@postlandfill.org.

Read the Protocols

Attendee Logisitics

Want to attend SZW, but unsure about logistics such as where to book travel or lodging, the difference between ticket options, and how to commute to Swarthmore College? We've answered commonly asked questions about the conference in the document below! Please review this FAQ, and then reach out to Ramiro@postlandfill.org if you have any remaining questions or concerns.

View the SZW23 FAQ
A group of attendees pose with their arms raised at the 2023 Students for Zero Waste Conference.
A group photo of the 2022 Students for Zero Waste Conference in front of the event banner and the trash monster “Phil,” made out of plastic waste.
 A large crowd of attendees pose indoors at the 2018 Students for Zero Waste Conference.
Attendees at the 2022 Students for Zero Waste Conference sit on couches in a circle to discuss with a presenter.
Students create crafts from upcycled materials at the 2019 Repair Fair.
Students crowd around speaker Zulene Mayfield while on an Environmental Justice field trip in Chester, PA.
Volunteers pose with the Students for Zero Waste sign-in table.
Attendees stand in a circle listening to a presenter during an SZW field trip to Subaru Stadium.
A room of attendees watch a presentation at SZW 2019
Attendees write out interactive discussion topics on whiteboards.
PLAN Staff and attendees learn weaving with “plarn,” yarn created from plastic waste, at our 2022 Conference.
 Attendees stand in a circle during a field trip at RAIR, a recycled arts facility.
A screenshot of our online conference platform, Whova, displaying the recording of the SZW 2022 Keynote Talk from Lydia X. Brown.
Get in touch about SZW

Ramiro (he/him)
Director of Events
We never turn students away for lack of funds.Reach out to Ramiro for more information about ticket pricing and funding options.