Zero Waste Community Event Toolkit


Contracting with Waste Diversion Service Providers

Waste diversion service providers who move materials off-site play an important role in your zero waste event.  Urban and rural locations differ considerably in the level of service available in the following categories:

  • Garbage Collection – Contractors are usually available to provide a large “roll-off” bin on site to receive materials collected during the course of the event. Depending on event attendance and amount of material generated, the bins are usually delivered before the event and picked up after the event.
  • Recycling Stream - Recyclable materials (e.g., plastics, cans, bottles, old corrugated cardboard (OCC), boxboard) are often collected by the same contractor as garbage. You need to clearly understand the process and restrictions of the local recycling system in order to design your on-site collection and delivery system. If the local recycling company prefers that material to be delivered in 3 or 4 separate streams, its up to you to work with your waste diversion service provider to retrofit your event to maximize that., The more material separation required, the more collection bins are needed and the more comprehensive the signage and communications must be.
  • The Organic Stream - Collecting organic wastes separately for composting provides and excellent opportunity for events to boast their diversion rates. Managing this waste stream requires some extra steps but could represent and additional 30% diversion from landfill.  Many waste diversion service providers in Ontario have systems in place that can support the collection of organic waste. Check with your local municipalities or service provider to understand your options.

Action Checklist


  • Identify early on the types of collection containers offered by each of your materials service providers, so that you can plan signage and bin placement appropriate for those containers.
  • Ensure that the containers being provided by your service provider do not contain imprints or attached signage that will conflict with your messaging.
  • Write into your contract that you will require tonnage figures of materials collected, disposed and diverted from landfill, so that you can gauge the success of your waste diversion efforts and to provide a benchmark against which you can gauge future efforts [see Waste Audit Guide tool]
  • Find out where your service provider will take the materials collected from your event and write into the contract that you require waybills from each place to which materials are delivered.
  • Identify and confirm markets for recyclables.
  • Write into your contract that you want financial reports back from service providers on amounts collected.
  • Consult with your local Ministry of Environment office to confirm the service provider is legitimate.

Recycling Collection

  • Ask your waste diversion service provider what their requirements are for recyclables. For example, do they allow mix the collection of recyclables or do they need each material separated by type (paper from plastic from glass etc.)  You need to know this in advance so that you can create your signage accordingly.
  • Consider not charging your vendors and exhibitors for recycling hauling to encourage participation in recycling.

Organics Collection

  • Well before your event, ensure that agreements with organic waste collection service providers are signed. You don’t want to find out at the last minute that you don’t have someone to remove your organic waste. .
  • Establish timelines for frequency of collection service. Error on the side of being more frequent than less frequent to avoid having large amounts of organic waste sitting on site for extended periods.
  • Ensure that your service provider picks up organic wastes up at the end of each day of your event or that the wastes are secured overnight to avoid disturbance by pests.

Related Tools

Zero Waste Policies