Good Waste Management

Well-labeled bins and volunteers to help point people in the right direction are paramount to an event having good waste management.

When done correctly, your event will know exactly what kinds of waste are produced and where it comes from. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to reduce the amount of trash you produce, saving both the environment and money otherwise spent on trash removal. These savings are called “avoided disposal costs.”

To begin, consider a single trashcan on the premises of your event. A lone trashcan invites all rubbish – including recyclables – to be disposed inside of it. Every trashcan needs to be paired with a recycling bin, and a compost bin, if food waste is being separated. The EPA estimates that every person generates 4.3 lbs. of waste per day. With this in mind, plan accordingly with regard to the number of waste stations you intend on having and make sure that a volunteer is in charge of checking the status of these bins.

In addition to having enough waste bins, you can task volunteers with the charge of conducting a waste audit. Performing a waste audit is an effective way to learn more about the type of materials your event generates as waste. During a waste audit, the auditor investigates:

  • Sources (was waste brought in or was it generated during the event?)
  • Composition (paper towels, plastic cups, etc.)
  • Weight
  • Volume

This type of information is critical towards going forward with an effective sustainability plan for running future events. Make sure to provide your auditor with plastic gloves and a tarp so s/he can conduct a proper waste audit.

In addition to a waste audit, all staff and volunteers need to be trained about what should or should not be recycled or composted. Create a list of what can be recycled in your town and put this on your recycling signs. Have a trained volunteer at waste stations during meals to help participants know where to put their waste. This is particularly beneficial when introducing composting to participants for the first time.

To fulfill this Best Practice do at least one of the following:

  • Ensure that a Recycle and Compost bin (if applicable) are placed adjacent to all Landfill bins.
  • Conduct a Waste Audit to determine what kind of waste your participants are primarily tossing.
  • Educate staff and participants about what can be recycled versus composted or landfill.