- Last updated:
- 29 Mar 2021
All events create waste. The goal is to work towards zero waste to landfill and leave the site clean. The key to success is having a good waste management plan. It is important to adequately budget for waste management as this can influence the success of your event.
All events should have a waste management plan but the level of detail is determined by the complexity of the event.
This guide gives you actions to help reduce waste at your event.
Goal: 10% reduction in waste.
- List the types of waste that will be generated (e.g. food, beverage containers and packaging of any kind)
- Understand what can go into the recycling, waste and composting bins
- Eliminate the use of unnecessary items such as balloons, straws, condiments packets
- Create bin stations in sets of two or three bins (waste, recycling, compostable) with clear signage using standardised colour coding (waste - red, recycling - yellow, and organics/food - lime green)
Engage and communicate
- Provide clear signage as to what can go into what bin including visuals. See resources below.
- Complete a visual waste assessment - establish a waste baseline. See resources below.
Take the challenge
Goal: 'Zero waste' event
- Be single use plastic free by swapping out with a reusable or compostable option
- Include in food vendor's terms and conditions around no single use plastic items
- Encourage event participants to bring their own (BYO) reusable water bottles/cups/cutlery to the event
- Introduce a third bin for the collection of food waste and compostable packaging
Engage and communicate
- Communicate to all stakeholders and audience about the waste process and expectations.
- Use volunteers to spread the word on the ground while monitoring and managing bin stations.
- Communicate information before, during and after the event.
- Complete a full waste audit.
Tips for success
- Work with waste contractors and volunteers to sort through the different waste streams
- Offer incentives such as 50 cent discount on coffee with a reusable cup
- Provide free drinking water stations for refilling water bottles
- Collect containers for the container refund scheme
- Investigate reusable crockery (providing suitable wash and sanitising system), otherwise compostable or recyclable options
- Communicate information before, during and after the event
- Use the guide to waste calculations to assist you in measuring the waste. A full waste audit can be completed by a waste contractor
- Waste Management Plan template
- Know your waste - sustainable event guide
- Your guide to swap out single-use plastics
- Waste signage
- Waste calculation sheet
- Refillable water drinking station: Unitywater provides a free 'Back to tap' van
Read about events that have taken the challenge.
Event: The annual event in 2019, more than 735 volunteers collected over 700 kg of litter from 18 coastal beach sites between North Bribie and Coolum. After the clean-up they returned to La Balsa Park in Buddina for BBQ.
Challenge: Managing waste and litter entering the local waterways. Taking a waste avoidance approach.
Solution: Waste avoidance actions were demonstrated at this event:
- Food suppliers (SjW Mushrooms, Bakers Delight Mooloolaba and Dicky Beach Meats) supported our plastic-free efforts by supplying their product plastic free
- Dicky Beach Meats provided the sausages in reusable plastic containers without any disposal plastic wrapping
- Bakers Delight bread was supplied in paper bags
- Water bottles - free water refills were available from Unitywater's 'Back to tap' van
- No single-use plastics were used resulting in minimal waste being generated.