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Event Recycling photo identifier

Event Recycling

How to Get Started

Guidelines for developing an event recycling program

To see this information in a brochure format (PDF) go to

Why is event recycling important to event coordinators?

As more people recycle in their homes, they want to see recycling opportunities when they are away from their homes. Setting up a recycling program promotes good public relations between you and event visitors, and also contributes to Washington State waste reduction goals.

What should an event coordinator do?
What does a well-designed program include?
Setting up for success!
What does a good recycling system look like?

What should an event coordinator do?

1. Put recycling collection services in the contract with the vendors.

2. Set performance goals for recycling.

3. Track the results:
  • Number of event visitors
  • Total amount of recyclables and garbage collected
  • Number of beverage vendors
  • Number of recycling and trash bins
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What does a well-designed program include?

  1. Designate a program coordinator
    • Put someone in charge—staff or a volunteer.
    • Find someone with good communication and organizational skills.
  2. Find a commercial recycling hauler
    Make sure your contract with the hauler includes:
    • Your recycling plan
    • Number of recycling bins needed
    • Who is responsible for emptying the recycling bins
    • How often and where the recycling bins will be emptied
    See Recycling Haulers for information on finding a registered hauler in your area.
  3. Decide on recycling bins
    Event coordinators have found that:
    • Clear bins allow the public to clearly see which bin is for recycling so that less trash gets in the recycling bins.
    • Easy set-up and storage are important if the bins are not permanent.
  4. Work with janitors/cleaning staff
    Make sure supervisors are aware of the plan and changes.
  5. Enlist local groups or clubs to help promote and manage the program
    Ideally, recycling stations should be staffed by volunteers to assist the public.
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Setting up for success!

To encourage event participants and the public to recycle, recycling bins should be readily available, clearly labeled, and easily accessible. If the area is secure, setting up recycling bins and stations the day before an event makes the recycling plan run smoothly.

What does a good recycling system look like?
  1. Always place recycling bins beside a trash container. This prevents trash from contaminating your recyclables and keeps recyclables out of the trash.
  2. Recycling stations should be highly visible and in convenient locations:
    • Place larger stations in areas where high volumes of waste will be generated. Locate recycling stations near concession areas, restrooms, entrances and exits, and make sure they are clearly marked.
    • If you restrict people from bringing beverage containers into your gates, have recycling bins available to dispose of containers right outside the gate. If you do not allow any containers to leave your facility, have bins available at the exit gate for disposal.
  3. Use recycling bins that are visually different from other waste bins. This way the public can clearly see which is for recycling.
    • Use clear plastic bags as liners for recycling bins for easy identification and removal of contaminants.
    • Use black bags in garbage bins.
  4. Choose bins with lids or openings that emphasize beverage container recycling. The recycling bins for beverage containers should have small round holes.
  5. Staff all recycling stations at all times. If this is not possible, then assign a worker to check each area periodically. Volunteers can help with this.
  6. Track the results and promote your success! Measure the amount of material recycled, the amount of trash collected, and the number of event attendees. Promote your success at the next event!

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