California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Operators: Reducing Waste at Venues & Events

2002 Survey Summary

Background

A total of 129 survey forms were sent out to California venue facilities (such as sport stadiums, convention centers, concert facilities, and other sites) across the state in April and May 2002. The sample was selected from 350 venues statewide identified by CIWMB (now CalRecycle) staff. A total of 36 (28 percent) of the survey forms were completed and returned. Not all respondents answered all the questions. The following are summary conclusions based on an analysis of the responses. Note: All numbers and percents cited are rounded

Survey Results

Venues generate a significant amount of waste. The responding 36 venues host more than 38 million visitors annually. The 27 facilities reporting disposal tonnage have a total of more than 60,000 tons of waste per year.

Waste reduction can have a significant impact on venue costs. For the approximately 50 percent of survey respondents who chose to answer this optional question, average disposal costs were about $103,000 per site, and savings from waste reduction (which may include savings in addition to avoided disposal costs) averaged about $58,000.

Participation was greatest in programs diverting recyclables such as:

  • Cardboard and paper (85-90 percent of respondents have a program for some materials)
  • Metals, glass, and plastics (60-85 percent have a program for some materials)

Participation was the lowest in the areas of waste reduction planning and administration, for example

  • Waste reduction written in supplier/subcontract agreements (70 percent have no program).
  • Waste reduction in staff job descriptions/training (70 percent have no program).
  • Reduced/recycled-content purchasing preferences (60 percent have no program).
  • On-site signage and attendee education (50 percent have no program).
  • Community outreach, leadership, publicity, etc. (70 percent have no program).

Additional areas lacking programs are:

  • Reusable containers (65 percent have no program).
  • Construction and demolition (50 percent have no program).
  • Food donation (50 percent have no program).

Approximately 28 percent of respondents asked for help with one or more programs; most commonly requested were:

  • Planning and administration issues (10–20 percent of venues want help).
  • Diversion of materials not specified on the survey (5–15 percent want help).

Respondents were asked what program they would select to increase their diversion. Less than one third of responding venues listed a program. The top responses were:

  • Food and green waste (35 percent).
  • Traditional recyclables (40 percent).
  • Other materials/programs (25 percent).

Conclusion

A large percentage of responding venue facilities are not implementing important waste reduction programs and, given an opportunity, a significant percentage requested assistance. Many of the waste reduction programs that venues lack may be relatively easy and inexpensive to implement, such as adding diversion goals to supplier/subcontractor agreements and training existing staff. While not a scientifically valid sample, the respondents were representative of prominent venues in the industry.

Venues Participating

The following table provides data on venues participating in waste reduction and recycling programs/activities as of spring 2000. (The numbers are in percent and rounded therefore they may not add up to 100 percent. The number of responses varied by program category.)

Program Description All Feasible
Operations Covered
Some Materials or
Some Operations
No Current
Program
Want Info
or Help?
Operations/Training
Official waste reduction plan in place. 31 31 34 17
Waste reduction goal is written into supplier
agreement and service subcontracts.
3 24 72 14
Waste disposal and diversion data is quantified and
reported to appropriate managers.
34 21 45 14
Waste reduction is in staff job descriptions and
training.
21 10 69 10
On-site attendee recycling educations (posters,
signs, etc.).
21 28 52 17
Community waste reduction education (publicity
theme, leadership outreach, etc.).
14 17 69 14
Waste Prevention/Reuse/Recycling
Recycle corrugated cardboard. 76 14 10 0
Recycle paper. 66 21 14 0
Recycle metals. 52 28 21 0
Recycle metals. 52 28 21 0
Recycle glass. 45 14 41 0
Recycle plastics. 45 31 24 0
Recycle grass/green trimmings/manure/food waste. 38 31 31 7
Recycle lumber/wood scrap. 21 28 52 7
Recycle/reuse construction and demolition
materials.
17 34 48 7
Donate leftover food. 21 28 52 17
Purchase preference for recycled-content products. 21 17 64 10
Switch to reusable containers/products. 0 31 70 14

Waste Analysis Home

Last updated: July 06, 2007
Venues and Events: Reducing Waste, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Venues/
Christopher Bria: Christopher.Bria@CalRecycle.ca.gov (916) 324-3560