Zero Waste Community Event Toolkit


Bin Monitoring, Tracking & Reporting

Regular monitoring of waste collection bins will help you identify whether things are going well or if adjustments are needed. [see Monitoring & Reporting module for more information] You want to set up your materials collection areas so that monitoring the bins is easy and effective. Creating “collection depots” at which all types of collection bins (i.e., recycling, organics and garbage) are placed will allow your volunteers to monitor more than one waste stream at once. Volunteers stationed at these depots can easily track the number of bags that get collected per station. This type of information can be recorded in your zero waste event report [see Reporting & Publicity module] and can be used to inform planning for next year’s event.

Action Checklist


  • Draft a ‘performance’ based waste/recycling service contract [see Tool 7 for an example] RCO to  provide sample contract
  • Anticipate what types of wastes you will likely have to deal with (containers, food, utensils)
  • From your list decide what your target materials are for collection for recycling, compositing and    garbage.
  • Decide what types of bins and collection depots are needed.
  • Check with the waste service provider to find out what types of bins they can offer.
  • Develop a waste management collection plan
  • Arrange front-of-house collection areas (e.g., number & type of bins)
  • Develop collection strategies for dealing with special wastes such as cigarette butts, diapers and bathroom waste.
  • Develop a strategy [e.g., locks, volunteer monitors] to secure bins in their locations so that vendors and patrons can’t move them.
  • Assign volunteers to monitor front-of-house bins.
  • Ensure a plan is in place to keep collection areas tidy.


  • Arrange back-of-house collection areas (e.g., number & type of bins, access points for waste diversion service providers, location of food oil drums and compactors [if needed])
  • Decide how waste collection areas are to be secured overnight [if you event is multiple days] from vandals and/or pests
  • Reserve a back-of-house recycling bin for corrugated cardboard. Particularly during set-up, vendors and exhibitors will have plenty.
  • Assign volunteers to monitor back-of-house bins.


Global Best Practice

A Note About Pests


Your event collection bins will likely collect a variety of foods and food residues that little critters love to feast upon. During the event, your bins may get visits from bees and wasps attracted by leftover sweet liquids and foods. Although collection bins with tight fitting lids will deter these insects, such lids may also deter patrons from using the bins correctly or at all, so you need to consider this when choosing bins for your event.

The best way to deal with insects is prevention. Clean collection areas will be less likely to attract pests and more likely to attract patrons to use them. Incorporate plans to hose down bins periodically so that food residues are washed away. Empty the bins on a regular basis so that they don’t overflow and expose food to hungry insects. Spray the outside of bins periodically with vinegar to discourage bees. If you have the resources, assign a volunteer to each collection area to ensure the bins stay as clean as possible.

Learn More About This Event >>

Hillside Festival – Guelph, ON

The site co-ordinator for the Hillside Festival uses a simple PowerPoint program - in combination with AutoCAD - to generate site layout maps that can be easily used by waste management and other crews to design the locations of the front-of-house depots and central collection areas. The designs are easily shared on the internet, and with limited training, crew chiefs can manage their own area’s site layout. Each of the designs is integrated into the overall festival site layout.

Learn More About This Event >>

Related Tools

Zero Waste Policies