Tips for How to Reduce Event Waste

By ecoRI News staff

Here are some tips, courtesy of RecyclingWorks Massachusetts, for event recycling and composting:

Involve important stakeholders in the planning stage, including waste haulers, concessionaires and partner organizations.

Know your waste hauler and where they will be taking your recycling and compost material.

Decide your program’s focus: the vendor (back-of-house) waste only or also include guest (front-of-house) waste.

Choose the types of waste receptacles you want to use. Some haulers may be able to supply bins as part of the service contract.

Use a consistent color system throughout the event space to ensure that each bin is easily identified. The most popular colors to use are black or brown for trash, blue for recycling, and yellow or green for compost.

Design signage using both graphics and text to indicate what goes in each bin and what does not.

Consider adding a clause to vendor contracts requiring them to use recyclable or compostable to-go materials for easy sorting.
Plan to monitor and evaluate the recycling program during the event and discuss your waste tracking needs with your hauler ahead of time.

Outline responsibilities and logistics of the recycling program in an e-mail to concessionaires, exhibitors, vendors and staff prior to the event.

Train volunteers and event staff, and consider stationing them at waste bins throughout the event space.

Group waste receptacle types — trash, recycling and compost — together to minimize contamination. Where there’s a trash bin, there should be a recycling bin next to it.

Distribute receptacles throughout the event, placing more in high-traffic or food-driven areas.

Place signage on all visible sides of the receptacle, as well as the top, if space permits.

Empty trash, recycling and compost bins regularly throughout the event to minimize overfilling.

Station volunteers at high-traffic areas to help guests sort their recyclables and other waste materials.

Continue recycling and monitoring during the breakdown of the event.

Use data collected during the event to generate results of the recycling program and to inform your next event’s planning sessions.

Identify opportunities for increased waste reduction, reuse and donation.

Ask for feedback from volunteers, guests and your hauler to improve your waste-diversion program.