Event waste: A problem not to celebrate

published Jul 04, 2022
3 min read

Setting up an event can be an exciting time with lots of things to think about. You might want to consider food, music, and venues, but you probably don’t spend a huge amount of time thinking about waste, even though you should.

Any event, whether it is corporate, a festival or a sporting even produces huge amounts of waste, and in a world where our impact on the environment is paramount, it needs to be in the minds of organising in every stage of their plans.

We have all seen the images of the debris left behind once the Glastonbury festival closes, and it is likely to send shivers down the spines of most people. The rubbish that is scattered serves as a stark reminder of how much waste is left behind at any festival, even if it makes it to the bin.

This will need careful and responsible disposal, so it is good to have a plan for how you are going to manage the waste from your event before you begin.

The impact of waste

Waste is still inevitable at any event, and it can take huge amounts of time and money to clean up, which is where reliable events waste management services can play an important part and should ideally be factored into any budgets, as any venue will need to be left the way that you found it. Many events generate different types of waste, including food, paper, glass, and plastic, and not all of it can be recycled.

Abandoned tents can also prove to be a significant waste problem as they are made from multiple materials, making them almost impossible to recycle. With more than 3 million people attending festivals each year, that leaves quite a lot of tents to clean up. So, when it comes to your waste, here are a few strategies that you can put in place to manage it more effectively.

Go reusable

Whatever food and drink you offer at your event, try, and make sure that it is all done in reusable cups, bottles and containers. This will drastically cut down the number of single use plastics that are needed and reduce the amount of waste dramatically.

Plastic free

Many events are now becoming more conscious of their impact on the environment and are aiming to become plastic free. This can involve removing packaging from anything sold at your event, cutting down on single use plastics and using paper or carboard as an alternative wherever possible.

By removing plastic straws, cutlery, bags, and other unnecessary forms of plastic, you can immediately reduce your waste, and ensure that the waste you do produce is recyclable.

Camping equipment

One survey has shown that as many as one in five people have left camping equipment behind at festivals either because it is broken, dirty or simply too difficult to put away. Most of the people who do this are likely to do it again, so it is worth considering strategies for this.

You could look at alternative ways to provide sleeping facilities or donate any tents or sleeping backs that are in good condition to homeless charities. Setting up a donations area could be a popular choice so that people can leave their gear in a designated area to allow it to be given to those who are in need.

Provide disposal facilities

One of the biggest complaints about any event is that there are not enough bins, but this only really solves the problem if the waste is put into the right place. Bins which combine all the rubbish into one place will still need to be sorted after the event or put straight into landfill, but bins which allow people to separate their rubbish and recycle at the point of disposal will save significant amounts of time and money.

Food waste

Food waste is often one of the biggest forms of waste at any event, so look at ways in which you might be able to compost this and give something back from it, rather than simply sending it to landfill. Any food which has not been touched could be donated to local charities or food banks when the event concludes.

Put responsibility onto the visitors

It is important that everyone does their bit for the environment and to simply make your event a tidy and more enjoyable place, so there is no harm on putting some responsibility on your visitors. You could ask them to bring their own water bottles, impose a tent pitch deposit and encourage people to volunteer or make donations to green charities while they are there.

Education should not be a huge part of any event, with people being shown that their tents cannot be recycled, the damage that plastic can do and the impact that they are having on the environment with every decision that they make.

Calculate your orders

When you order anything for your event, you are likely to err on the side of caution and over order just in case. Whilst this is understandable, it is often what leads to huge amounts of waste. Taking the time to be more careful with your calculations and only ordering what you need, means that less should make its way to the bin at the end of the event.


More people than ever before care about the impact that they are having on the environment and are keen to support events that seem to be self-aware. Those who are seen to be trying to do the right thing when it comes to waste are often celebrated and well regarded, meaning it can help to boost your reputation and even drive sales, so being green with your waste can be profitable too.

Calculating the waste that your event might produce puts you in a better position to reduce it and dispose of it in a way that minimises its impact on the environment. It is an important task, and if you prioritise it at the start of your plans it can be much easier to manage than when it is simply an afterthought.