Waste reduction during special events

Waste sorting station displaying tools: including blue, grey and green carts for each stream; signage; tent; and banner.

Waste Sorting Station displaying tools: including blue, grey and green carts for each stream; signage; tent; and, banner.

Organizers of smaller events should incorporate some ideas on how to reduce waste produced
at the event.

Proper waste planning involves completing a Waste Management Plan in accordance with the City’s Waste Management By-law Number (2011) 19199 – Section 11.

If you are planning an event, please review and follow the step-by-step process below in order to support Guelph’s diversion efforts and successfully manage waste at your event.

If you have any questions or require further information on planning your event, please refer to the Special Event Waste Diversion Handbook or contact Solid Waste Resources at 519-767-0598.

Step-by-step waste planning process for event organizers

Follow the step-by-step process below and STRIVE to make your event a waste sorting success.
1. START by completing the event application:

  • On your Special Event Application, circle ‘Yes’ to ‘Request support from Waste Services’
  • You will receive a Waste Management Plan and accompanying Special Event Waste Diversion Handbook. Please submit this Waste Management Plan at least six (6) weeks prior to when your event is scheduled. We will do our best to accommodate your request.

2. TAKE ACTION on your plan:

  • What are your event’s needs (e.g. carts, sorting signs, tents)?
  • How will waste be collected (City collection or private hauler)?
  • How many volunteers will you have? How will they be trained?
  • How will you communicate to your vendors? Encourage waste minimization?
  • How many Waste Sorting Stations will be set up? Where will they be located?

3. RECRUIT and train volunteers

  • Recruit engaged and dedicated volunteers to monitor Waste Sorting Stations.
  • Assign a minimum of one volunteer to each Waste Sorting Station at all times.
  • Properly trained volunteers will ensure that contamination is minimized.
  • Schedule a training date for your volunteers. Solid Waste staff can provide training or sample training material.

4. INFORM vendors

  • Ensure vendors are aware of acceptable carts and materials.
  • Notify vendors of locations of Waste Sorting Stations or alternative disposal requirements.

5. VERIFY your plan

  • Monitor Waste Sorting Stations during event and report issues for future improvement.
  • Track your diversion rates (tonnages). Solid Waste Resources can help get you started.
  • Take photos to identify changes that may be required for future events.

6. Evaluate your success

  • Celebrate your diversion success.
  • Share your accomplishments with the City and event-goers.
  • Note areas for future improvement.

Planning Process Notes

  • If you expect more than 1,000 attendees (and significant waste generation) it is mandatory that you complete a Waste Management Plan. Solid Waste Resources may ask any event for a completed Waste Management Plan. Events for which a Waste Management Plan is not required should also incorporate ideas on how to minimize waste and use environmentally-responsible packaging and serve ware.
  • Include Waste Sorting Stations on your Site Layout Plan in high traffic areas close to sources of waste generation. Use banners, tents and signage to encourage guests to dispose of waste properly.
  • Solid Waste Resources can provide examples of acceptable packaging and/or a list of recommended sources of packaging, serveware and cutlery (Refer to the Special Event Waste Diversion Handbook).

For more information

Questions or further information on waste minimization or diversion initiatives, please contact:

Solid Waste Resources
519-767-0598
TTY: 519-826-9771
waste@guelph.ca