Try a waste management plan for your next event

As I’m in the most hectic crunch time of my entire life right now – school work, volunteering, day job, and of course planning for Between the Pipes I’m trying to not leave anything out.

Between the Pipes host venue Norwood Community Centre has a waste management system in place – which is amazing. Not all venues do, and sometimes because of the variety of events one venue may host, the plan doesn’t translate well for each different event.

Creating a waste management plan when planning an event is incredibly important regardless of the number of people involved or whether it’s held indoors or outdoors. My suggestion is to create a more detailed plan for what you think you’ll need. This will help should attendance fluctuate or grow or should the scope of your event change (ex. due to weather).

Pre-planning for event waste management includes making goals. Do I want to eliminate waste all together? Where can I buy environmentally friendly products? Do I want a certain number of recyclables collected? Also determine where your event waste will be dropped off /collected after the event. Contact local waste collection facilities and discuss your needs with them. Some companies may help with collection post-event, while others may ask that you drop off the materials at a depot.

Some things to start thinking about as you plan…

It’s important to have a “green team” in charge of waste management. This team will set up the infrastructure and ensure that bins are emptied, bags are replaced, materials are properly sorted, and that everything stays clean! Signage on or near each bin with the materials that are accepted into it is something to look into if resources allow. If possible, clearly identify which are garbage bins, and which are for recycling. Green or black bins with black bags are typically for garbage, while blue bins with clear bags are better for recycling. Pairing a recycling bin beside a garbage bin makes it easier for guests to place the appropriate materials in the right bins. For larger scale events, ensure all vendors, volunteers, and the waste management depots are informed of your waste management plan.

Recycle everything you can – cardboard boxes, any plastic packaging (that is recyclable), plastic and glass bottles, paper, aluminum cans, juice boxes, batteries, electronics, and light bulbs. Avoid disposable products and materials wherever possible.

Plates, cups, cutlery and even napkins can be compostable, biodegradable, and recyclable these days. It’s easier to make a smarter choice.
See a list of available products in Winnipeg on the Canada Green Natural Products website.

If possible, aim to have a compost bin at your event as well! Food waste and certain brands of cutlery can be disposed of in those bins, rather than being thrown into the garbage.

Promote the fact that you’re making the effort to keep your event “green”. It’s nice to know that event organizers care about the experience their guests have. In my experience, a cleaner, greener event is a successful one.

Here’s a great example of a Litter-free and green event checklist form for planning your next event.

Take these tips and implement them next time you host an event. Good luck with your planning!

– Enjoy the ride.

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