California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Venues and Events: Reducing Waste

Definitions: FAQs About PRC 42648

This page defines local agency, large events, large venues, mixed use and answers frequently asked questions as they pertain to the provisions of Public Resources Code 42648, et al. (AB 2176, Montanez, Chapter 879, Statutes of 2004) regarding waste reduction at large venues and events.

Local Agency

A local agency is defined as a city or county.

Large Events

A "large event" is defined as:

  1. Serves an average of more than 2,000 individuals per day of operation (both people attending the event and those working at it--including volunteers--are included in this number); and
  2. Charges an admission price or is run by a local agency.

The bill specifically includes public, nonprofit, or privately owned parks, parking lots, golf courses, street systems, or other open space when being used for an event, including, but not limited to, a sporting event or a flea market in addition to the other events that meet A and B above.

What is not a large event under AB 2176?

  • Events that do not charge an admission fee, unless operated by a local agency.
  • Events held on Indian lands.
  • Events that attract 2,000 or fewer individuals per day of operation are not considered "large."

If a nonprofit group, or even a for-profit organization, holds a free event attracting more than 2,000 individuals, is it considered a large event under this law?

No. Regardless of the size of the event, if there isn’t an admission fee or it isn’t run by the local agency, it isn’t considered a large event.

Are food or historic festivals that are held on a street or in a park and attract more than 2,000 individuals and are considered large events?

If there is no way to access festival activities without paying a fee, it is probably a large event. If the activity is free, but operated by the local agency, then it could be considered a large event.

What if an event charges some other kind of fee; is this considered charging admission as per PRC 42648 (b)?

In determining what an admission fee is, consider whether or not there is a fee for an individual to access the activity site or enjoy the event itself, for example:

  • If entrance to a venue or event site on foot is not allowed or practical without a "parking fee," then part of the parking charge may be considered an admission fee.
  • Donations to a charity-sponsored event are not admission fees; however, if entrance to the event site is denied without a "donation," then the donation may be considered an admission fee.
  • If the fee is for activity participation, such as playing in a charity-benefit golf game where some of the payment covers commercial greens fees, or a fun run that requires a registration fee to participate, the same logic may apply. If entrance to the event site or event activity is denied without a fee, then part of the activity fee may really be an admission fee.
  • Fees or donations to participate in games or dining once on the site of the event are generally not admission fees.
  • Site rental or use fees (for use of a rental hall, for example) paid by a host are not an admission fee for the guests. Admission fees are commonly charged to each attendee.
  • Free or complimentary tickets may count as an admission fee if others must pay a fee to enter the same event site for the same event.

Large Venues

A "large venue" is defined as a permanent facility that annually seats or serves an average of more than 2,000 individuals within the grounds of the facility per day of operation (both people attending the event and those working at it--including volunteers too--are included in this number).

Venues include, but are not limited to airports, amphitheaters, amusement parks, aquariums, arenas, conference or civic centers, fairgrounds, museums, halls, horse tracks, performing arts centers, racetracks, stadiums, theaters, zoos, and other public attraction facilities. Venues operated by federal entities or located on federal property are not exempt from the mandates of AB 2176.

What is not a large venue under AB 2176?

  • Facilities that are not public attractions are not venues. While the statute doesn’t provide a definition of what may be a public attraction, it would appear that church services, public parks and beaches, schools, and other businesses, such as restaurants, gas stations, and offices, do not fit the common meaning of public attraction venue. However, special events at these facilities might meet the definition of large events and should be evaluated using that definition.
  • Facilities on Indian lands, such as casinos, are not covered under AB 2176.
  • Venue facilities that seat or serve 2,000 or fewer individuals per day of operation are not considered "large."

What about sites that combine venue and nonvenue facilities?

Nonvenue activities and facilities would generally not be covered by the provisions of AB 2176; for example:

  • "Convention" hotels with large meeting rooms in the hotel structure--the convention rooms might qualify as a venue, but not the hotel guest areas.
  • "Old towns," historic squares, or other tourist areas with a mixed operation of streets, museums, and commercial stores--generally, only the museums or similar public attraction/entertainment facilities would be considered venues.

Is a park or site with multiple attractions or facilities considered all one venue or multiple venues under PRC 42648 (c)?

If a site that includes more than one large venue that is contiguous with other large venues in the site is under common ownership or control, it is considered a single large venue. Given that general guidance from statute, common logic will often dictate whether or not a specific situation should be treated as one venue or separate venues. Simply looking at who owns the land may not be sufficient. To help guide your determination, ask questions such as: Are the venues similar? Are the waste diversion challenges similar? Can one waste diversion plan work for all the venues? Are the venues run by one operator, or does each have its own operator or governing board? If you can easily answer yes to each of these questions, it probably makes sense to treat them as one venue. If many of the answers are no, it may be more logical to consider them independently.

Mixed Use

Are colleges and universities with stadiums, gymnasiums, or other similar facilities covered by the mandates of AB 2176?

The classroom areas and school activities such as a graduation ceremony or intramural sports may be exempt, but a concert or sporting event at the stadium, gymnasium, field, or similar facilities that charges an admission fee and is open to the public may meet the definition of a large event and should be evaluated using that definition.

What about a facility, such as a fairground or performing arts center, that hosts multiple different events? Do I consider it a single venue or do I consider all the events individually?

If the entire facility is under common ownership or control and attracts more than 2,000 individuals per day of operation, it would generally be considered one large venue and the events and activities held at the venue would be considered as part of the venue operations.

Note: Public Resources Code 42648, et al. (AB 2176, Montanez, Chapter 879, Statutes of 2004) does not require CalRecycle to regulate or enforce its provisions, but rather to obtain information for future recommendations. CalRecycle will not be adopting regulations and local agencies need to make reasonable determinations based upon the provisions of the statue; CalRecycle will not be formally evaluating or auditing individual local agency determinations. However, as always, CalRecycle staff is available to assist local agencies in making these determinations. In interpreting the legislative intent regarding implementing PRC 42648, the FAQs referenced above may be useful for local agencies and operators of venues and events.

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Last updated: July 10, 2007
Venues and Events: Reducing Waste, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Venues/
Christopher Bria: Christopher.Bria@CalRecycle.ca.gov (916) 324-3560