Waste and resource recovery - event sustainability guidelines
Plan your waste management by implementing general waste, recycling and organic waste streams, avoiding the use of plastic pollutants and encouraging your stakeholders and patrons to work with you to reduce waste at your event.
Use this page to find out about:
By reducing the amount of waste your event creates, you can minimise the impact on the environment and save time, energy and money.
Follow the waste and resource recovery hierarchy to plan your event.
|Avoid||Work with vendors to:
|Reduce||Encourage vendors and patrons to reduce food waste by catering accurately and ordering carefully.|
|Reuse||Encourage attendees to bring their own reusable shopping bags, water bottles and coffee cups.|
|Recycle||Provide recycling bins for items that cannot be reused e.g. plastic, metal, glass, paper, cardboard. Food waste should not go in the recycling bin, encourage food and liquids to be emptied (into organics collection bins if provided) before recycling the containers, rinsing is not required. A small amount of residue is acceptable and will not ruin the whole load of recycling.|
Inform your suppliers, vendors and stakeholders about ways to reduce and manage their waste and provide advice about recommended products. As well as the tips above, encourage vendors to:
- choose compostable coffee cups, lids and serveware if providing an organics collection; otherwise, recyclable items should be used
- choose good quality, multiple-use giveaways and merchandise
- produce maps and programs electronically, highlighting the location of bins, walking and bike paths, train stations, bus stops and water refill stations.
Consider the types of waste your event will generate before you order bins. Choosing the correct bins for your event will increase recycling and reduce waste to landfill, as well as potentially save money.
Use this table for guidance on identifying and planning how to dispose of different types of waste.
|Types of waste||Guidelines|
Organic matter accounts for a large amount of waste sent to landfill from events. It can include:
Organic materials are compostable and waste can be recovered by providing an organics service at your event. Visit Planet Ark Business Recycling to find a service provider. For smaller events, consider collecting organics and giving it to a community composting hub located at sites around Brisbane.
If you decide to have organic waste collected at your event, ensure you clearly communicate what type of serveware can be used. To simplify the streams for your patrons, vendors will use the same type of serveware, compostable (preferable) or recyclable, not a combination of both.
^ Biodegradable items are not the same as compostable items. Biodegradable items such as cups and plates are made from bioplastics, derived from plant products, rather than petroleum. These items do not readily break down like compostable materials and can only be composted through a commercial provider, however, they are considered more sustainable than regular petroleum-based plastic.
Recycling is often referred to as 'comingle recycling' and can be identified by a yellow lid and should be clearly signed at events. All recyclables must be placed loose in the bin, not in plastic bags, otherwise they will be sent to landfill. The comingle recycling stream includes:
Soft plastics include plastic wrap used for boxes on pallets, plastic bags and soft plastic packaging. They can be recycled using a special service. Discuss this option with your waste service provider.
Soft plastics cannot be placed in yellow lid recycling bins, only firm plastics should be discarded in recycling bins, e.g. plastic bottles and containers.
|Paper and cardboard||Paper and cardboard can be recycled through comingle recycling bins. However, if your event is generating large amounts of paper and cardboard waste, you can provide a dedicated paper and cardboard recycling service. This may reduce your waste management costs. Discuss this option with your waste service provider.|
|Rubbish (general waste)||
Rubbish bins should have a red lid and be clearly signed. The general waste stream includes:
Reusing or recycling signage
Printed plastic corflute signs can be recycled through a specialist waste stream (not comingle recycling), but only if it has not come into contact with any adhesives. Discuss options with your waste service provider.
Ordering the right number and type of bins and positioning them effectively encourages people to dispose of waste correctly and can save money in contracting and cleaning.
This table includes waste management steps for events.
|Make a waste plan||
Complete a waste plan and share it with your suppliers, vendors, staff and volunteers. Include information about:
|Estimate waste quantities||Use the amenities calculator to help you assess the number of waste and recycling bins required. Approximately one waste station is required per 100 attendees, but may vary depending on the food service and other event waste. If possible, add an organics collection bin to each station to prevent even more waste from going to landfill.|
|Order your bins||Search for waste providers at Planet Ark Business Recycling. Order bins at least four weeks prior and ensure the waste and recycling services match the types of waste expected to be generated.|
|Position your waste stations effectively||
A waste station includes one of each of the streams being collected (e.g. one general waste, one recycling and one of each of the other streams such as organics collection).
Place waste stations approximately 25 metres apart (closer in food and beverage areas). Place bins at entry and exit points and on routes to and from transport stops in close proximity to the venue. If skips or specialist streams will be provided for vendors or back-of-house, ensure they are conveniently located.
Place signs on and around bins, communicate your expectations to vendors and monitor compliance.
Assign volunteers to monitor bin stations if possible. They can assist and encourage patrons to separate their waste into the correct bin and monitor when bins are full.
Bins in high-volume areas should be monitored frequently
Keep spare empty bins aside and use them to replace full bins. This will minimise litter and avoid overflowing.
Help your event attendees by:
Reduce waste by keeping signs for future events.
Learn about the following event sustainability guidelines topics: