In the UK events, like festivals, generate an estimated 23,500 tonnes of waste every year - most of which ends up in landfills. The waste left behind at events dominates the media annually, with pictures of abandoned tents and piles of rubbish on the front pages after all big gigs. However, regardless of what kind or size event you are holding, all events will produce masses of waste which will prove harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly. To savour your reputation and protect our planet, here’s a short guide on how to approach waste management during and after an event.
Due to the dynamic nature of events, it is vital to prepare your waste management plans prior to the event taking place. Often it isn’t as simple as expecting people to bin their own waste or hold onto it, but it is important to make early estimates about the amount of waste that is likely to be produced and find suitable sizes and quantities of bins, as well as scheduling clearances of these throughout the event.
Doing this will allow you to stay on top of the waste and prevent bins from overfilling and waste from becoming overwhelming. It is also worth considering whether more bins should be positioned in certain places, such as by toilets or by stalls.
It is also a very good idea to arrange for a professional waste management team to remove and clear all of the waste throughout and following the event. Often these specialists can estimate the waste generated by a certain capacity of individuals and will be able to quote you for their services early in the planning stages.
Many companies will have event specific packages as part of their commercial waste clearance services and will be experienced in handling the output. It is vital that you receive a quote before the event and have discussed any additional fees and charges since you may otherwise be shocked to find that you have been overcharged or that fees are inflated! Although the waste output is difficult to predict, it is crucial to agree on the small details first!
It is also really important to manage your waste by increasing the amount of recycling during your event. This is crucial not only for the reputation of your event, but also for the environment. This can easily be done by working alongside vendors to integrate recyclable packaging, or choosing vendors which already do offer this. It is also important to promote the idea of recycling at your event, particularly through posters and signposting. Most importantly, you should ensure that you give visitors quick and easy access to recycling bins.
One of the most important ways to manage your event’s waste is to establish strong communication with the caterers and traders involved, to ensure that you all have mutual goals with regard to minimising the waste and packaging used at the event. In particular, it’s recommended to allocate each trading stall or station with their own bins, usually ones which separate recyclables and non-recyclables.
It’s also recommended that they advertise which parts of their product are recyclable, and which are not, through word of mouth or posters. For larger events, we encourage that you establish a small incentive for those making more eco-friendly decisions. For example, refill discounts for using reusable plastics and so on.
Although events can prove wasteful, following these simple measures can help you reduce the amount of your event waste that ends up in landfills, meaning your event has done its bit for the planet!