Zero Waste Community Event Toolkit

During The Event

Monitoring & Sorting

During your event, monitoring of the front-of-house collection depots and back-of-house collection areas (i.e., vendor/exhibitor stalls, pick-up area for waste diversion service providers) will let you know how well things are going and whether any adjustments are needed. Your goal is to have a tidy, efficient and well-functioning waste collection system. To maximize your waste diversion rates, you want to keep each material (plastic, glass, paper etc) stream from being contaminated with differing materials as much as possible.

Some of the more successful zero waste events employ a monitor at each waste collection depot to instruct patrons about which receptacles to use for each type of waste. They also employ monitors to keep an eye on back-of-house disposal and assist vendors/exhibitors with any questions that may arise. Without the monitor, you rely on the strength of your signage and educational campaign to influence people’s habits.

Action Checklist

  • Assign staff or volunteers to monitor the front-of-house and back-of-house collection areas.
  • Ensure that bins are regularly emptied
  • Restrict public access to the back-of-house waste collection pick-up site(s) so that contamination of each collection bin is minimized.
  • If vendors and exhibitors are permitted to discard materials at the waste collection pick-up area(s), ensure that they are informed of each waste stream and post signage on each bin.
  • Take photos of poorly and well-functioning collection depots, littered areas, etc. at different times of the day so that you can have a record for future event planning.

Global Best Practice

Summerfolk Festival, Owen Sound, ON

The “trash crew” at Summerfolk Festival - soon to be renamed the Green Team - uses several ½ ton pickups to carefully circulate throughout the festival site collecting the 5 waste streams and delivering to the “back-of-house” bins. Crew members are well equipped with protective clothing and are trained to do material sorting at the bins and prior to dumping into the larger collection bins. This “source separation” helps reduce post event sorting. Volunteers reported very supportive patrons and a willingness to follow the rules. Although exact numbers have not yet been reported the program was judged the “best ever.”

Live Earth (8 Venues Worldwide)

At Live Earth venues around the world, concessionaires were required to use recyclable or biodegradable materials according to a five-component environmental strategy and the Green Earth Event Guidelines. Vendors and service providers were strictly monitored to ensure guidelines were being followed. Live Earth’s maiden event met its goal in restraining carbon emissions to 19,708 metric tons, while of the 97 metric tons of waste collected, 81% was diverted from landfills via recycling and composting efforts.

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Zero Waste Policies