Post by Tom Pickering
Category Blog

Event Waste Management

..Event Waste Management

This blog is aimed to help anyone who is organising an event prepare for their waste management. It’s an area of event planning that can often be overlooked.

My name is Tom Pickering of Clearance and Cleanup.

At Clearance and Cleanup, we look after many events throughout the whole year. From music festivals, car shows, marathons, park runs, bike rallies, food festivals, to markets and exhibitions.   Whatever type of event you are organising, I hope my tips will be useful to you.

Know Your Event.

The first thing to work out is how many people will be attending the event.  If the event runs over a number of days, then you will need an estimated figure for each day.   It’s then worth thinking about the demographics of those attending and their likely habits.   For example, the waste generated by a cake convention at which most people are over the age of 60, will be very different from a music festival where most people are in their early 20s.

There is going to be catering at the event, it’s important to find out what packaging and disposable food and drink holders are going to be used, as this can generate significant extra volumes of waste.

If there is a bar on site, then you will need to know its opening hours and the likely usage patterns.   If the bar opens at lunchtime until 11pm then we would work on eight to ten yards of waste per thousand people.  It’s a ballpark figure, but it’s aEvent Waste Management good starting point.

The Setup.

The position of bins around the event is crucial for keeping the site clear and efficient waste removal. Most people think that the attendees don’t want to be dodging bins every few steps. But actually no one wants to, or will, walk 20 metres to the nearest bin.  If the bins are not in the correct positions, then people will simply drop their waste anywhere.

Having different bins clearly labelled for different types of waste is also incredibly helpful at clearance time.  It will save a huge number of man hours separating everything out into the different waste streams.  This is especially important if there is glass on site for the health and safety of people attending the event, but also the clearance personnel.

It’s vital to make sure the bins around the event never get to the point of overflow.  No one wants to be near, let alone use, an overflowing bin. If bins are not emptied regularly or are allowed to remain full for any length of time, health hazards can be created. Food for thought!

The next tip is to speak to any traders who are going to be at the event.  Find out what sort of waste they will have and what they plan to do with it.  One option is to charge traders for waste disposal so that, if it would be beneficial, they have serviced bins behind and/or in front of their stalls.  At the very least, you need to ensure they bag up their own waste and know where the skip/bin area is located on site, and that they use it.

Finally, think about the site clearance after the event.  How much time is available to clear the site before it is handed back? Many event organisers forget to plan this element of the event and this can lead to costs rapidly escalating to get enough manpower to turn it around in a short time.

Extra tips for outdoor events is:

  • Dropped cigarette ends are incredibly time consuming to pick up, as are bottle tops. If there is a bar, ask the staff to take the tops off bottles. Then put them in their own bins behind the bar before handing the drink to the customer.This will save a significant amount of manpower and clear up time after the event.  Using a “Billygoat”, which is like an outdoor, push along vacuum, is very useful for picking up cigarettes and bottle tops, so ensure your clearance company has them.  Otherwise you’ll end up with people walking around site for hours, picking up potentially thousands of discarded cigarettes and bottle tops, amongst other things!


So, in summary, my top tips for event waste management are:

  1. Understand the clientele and the estimated numbers due to attend;
  2. Build good relationships with the caterers, bars, and traders to make sure they dispose of waste in the most efficient way;
  3. Ensure you have enough bins, that they are in the right positions around site, and that they are emptied regularly; and
  4. Plan the clean up of the site after the event and make sure you have enough disposable labour to guarantee you can hand the cleared site back on time.

Finally, consider engaging a professional clearance company such as ours.  Not only can we remove the waste at the end of the event. We can provide advice at the planning stage and even the provide the bins.

I hope you have found that useful.  If I can provide any further information, please just let me know

Our Event Waste Management Page is Located HERE

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Tom Pickering

Tom Pickering

Tom Pickering is the Managing Director of Clearance and Clean Up. Tom has created a highly motivated and well trained team that can deal with multiple tasks in many different environments. Connect with Tom on LinkedIn >>
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