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Recycling at Community Events

Solutions for Successful Event Recycling and Waste Management

Event Organizer Responsibilities
Event organizers have six key responsibilities relating to relating to recycling and garbage when holding an event on City owned or managed property. They are responsible for litter pick-up, ensuring there are adequate facilities to collect recycling and garbage and disposal of garbage and recyclables appropriately after the event.  Following are solutions to each key responsibility area:

Solution #1: Creating an effective Recycling and Waste Management Plan
Responsibility #1: Complete and submit a Recycling and Waste Management Plan to as part of the event application approval process.

The key to running a successful event is to plan for recycling, garbage and litter prevention in advance. The City has developed a simple, step-by-step questionnaire to help identify what is needed for each event. Complete this questionnaire and submit it as your waste management and recycling plan. See Recycling and Waste Management Plan Worksheet for more information.

Solution #2: Determining Cart Requirements and Collection Services
Responsibility #2: Provide an adequate number of containers for the recycling of materials banned from disposal in regular garbage.

Responsibility #3
: Provide an adequate number of containers for garbage disposal.

Responsibility #4
: Make arrangements for removal and proper disposal of garbage and recyclables collected.

Solution #3: Keep Site Clean and Litter Free

Responsibility #5: Make arrangement for litter collection.

It is important to schedule clean up staff and/or volunteers to patrol the event grounds to pick up any litter that has not made its way into garbage or recycling containers. The cleaner the ground, the less likely people are to litter and feel compelled to keep the area just as clean as they found it.

Solution # 4: Minimize Waste at Events
Responsibility #6: Minimize waste at events by working together with event/venue staff and vendors.

The best way to minimize waste at events is to work vendors, volunteers, service providers and venue staff to encourage waste reduction tactics.

  • Communicate your recycling, litter and waste management plans, educate them about how recycling, litter and waste will be managed during and after the event.
  • Include information, such as how recyclables should be separated, if cardboard must be flattened, how wood pallets are collected, etc.
  • Provide clear instructions on how to recycle at the event and who to contact (the recycling coordinator) if they have questions.
  • Use signage and volunteers to highlight recycling opportunities throughout the event site.

Follow these practical tips to minimize waste:

  • Eliminate packaging (example: use bulk condiments for jams, honey, sugar, ketchup and mustard rather than individually packaged servings)
  • Buy in bulk
  • Use refillable or reusable containers and serving products (example: urns, pitchers or the City’s Water Station rather than canned or bottled products)
  • Avoid disposable decorations like paper tablecloths, balloons, etc.
  • Reuse decorations and props
  • Create signage that can be reused at the next event
  • Buy supplies with recycled content, such as cups and napkins, or with low environmental impacts, such as non-toxic cleaners
  • Hand out eating utensils and straws upon request only
  • Do not give out anything that is not made from recycled materials or cannot be reused, recycled or consumed
  • Limit the use of paper handouts whenever possible by:
    • Printing event programs on large signs in high traffic and visible areas.
    • Asking exhibitors and sponsors to collect a list of email addresses, so that they can email participants information after the event.
  • Use online resources to market the event such as email, a website or social media.

Garbage and Recycling Container Options
Event Organizers have three options for providing the required recycling and garbage containers at event venues for use by attendees, vendors and service providers.

1. Provided by Event Organizer
Event organizers own their own recycling and garbage containers and provide all related services using their staff and volunteers. This includes supplying their own recycling and garbage carts/bins and signage for the event and arranging for the removal and disposal of all materials at the appropriate drop-off depots.

2. Private Contractors
Event organizers may arrange for private recycling and waste collection through private contractors/service providers to supply bins/carts, and remove and dispose of garbage and recyclables.

3. Use City of Richmond Services
Using Richmond’s Go!Recycle Event Program, event organizers may rent recycling and garbage containers from the City. The City also provides services to remove and dispose of garbage and recyclable materials. Visit Rentals and Services Application Form for more information.


Helpful Links and Resources
Recycling at Community Events
Rentals and Services Application Form
Recycling and Waste Management Plan Worksheet
Tips and Resources for Recycling at Community Events