The success of your zero waste event will depend largely on the appropriate placement and management of your collection bins. Sorting recyclables into each of their respective material types (glass, metal, plastics etc) makes them generally easier to recycle and as a result, typically more valuable. Sorting materials at the collection bins is referred to as “source separating” because the materials are separated “at the source.” Setting up collection “depots” where visitors can source separate their waste into the proper bins means you will have less sorting to do at the end of the event.
Effective collection and logistics is something that your waste/recycling service provider should help you with. This expectation should be included in your contract with your service provider so your diversion goals are clear and payment of the contract is dependent on them meeting your expectations. In many cases the service provider can offer collection bins; you may wish to consider this a requirement in your contract as well.
Collection depots should be considered for your event patrons ‘front of house” as well as for your vendors and exhibitors “back of house” Many times the wastes are generated from either of these areas can be very different. When you are ‘signing up’ vendors and exhibitors, it is a good idea to ask them to ‘predict’ the types of waste they anticipate they may generate. Then you will be well prepared with the most efficient collection tools.
Developing a waste management collection plan will help you think strategically about the location of your collection depots, back-of-house & front-of-house collection area(s) and routes for servicing bins. A waste management collection plan is simply a map of your event site that identifies:
- bin locations
- numbers and types of bins at each location
- routes for service vehicles such as equipment suppliers, vendors and waste diversion service providers before, during and after the event
- food/beverage vendors who may require more frequent waste collection.
You may also wish to consider setting up a zero waste booth to promote the event’s zero waste aspects. Your waste collection plan will help you strategically locate this booth.