California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

"Innovations" Case Studies

Recycling at Special Events: A Model for Local Government Recycling and Waste Reduction

As communities seek to reduce waste disposal, interest in diverting waste generated at public events has grown. Special events may be held at venues specifically designed to host such events (stadiums, fairgrounds, convention centers) or at venues designed for other uses (public streets and parks). While not every community has a permanent event venue, most communities host numerous special events over the course of a year. These events pose a challenge to recyclers because the waste stream often contains large amounts of single-use products and food discards. Multiple vendors often serve participants.

If obstacles to recycling can be overcome, benefits can accrue both communities and event organizers. These include contributing to reaching 50 percent waste diversion as required by the Integrated Waste Management Act (AB 939, Sher, Chapter 1095, Statutes of 1989 as amended [CalRecycle]). The practice of recycling generates good publicity for event organizers, and it reduces waste disposal costs. It also generates goodwill among attendees--the public likes recycling at events. People often express a desire for recycling opportunities when they are not present at these events.

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Credits and Disclaimer

Kelly Lease of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance prepared this study pursuant to contract IWM-C8028 ($198,633, included other services) with the University of California at Santa Cruz for a series of 24 studies and summaries.

The statements and conclusions in this summary are those of the contractor and not necessarily those of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), its employees, or the State of California. In addition, the data in this report was provided by local sources but not independently verified. The State and its contractors make no warranty, express or implied, and assume no liability for the information contained in this text. Any mention of commercial products, companies, or processes shall not be construed as an endorsement of such products or processes.

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Last updated: October 15, 2002
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