Event Waste Management
Many events are hosted in Abbotsford every year. Community events are an essential component of our City, helping us to be a complete community by driving community spirit and a sense of community identity; as well as fostering a vibrant economy through community involvement and economic benefit. However, events tend to generate large amounts of waste. The good news is there are simple steps event planners can take to reduce waste during the planning, execution, and cleanup of events. Here are some tips on how to minimize waste and green your event:
- Promote digitally. Use paperless flyers and digital signs, or consider designing a mobile-responsive website and/or app to minimize the need for paper flyers. Market and promote digital content through social media and encourage relevant groups to share your event on their own social media platforms.
- Use recycled content. Design paper event materials using a smaller size and utilize both sides of the paper.Consider using 100% post-consumer recycled paper for all printing needs.
- Use reusable flags and banners. Consider sourcing and designing reusable signs such as reusable boards or vinyl signs with white space for stickers to be placed each year.Do not include any dates or any information that can change.
- Encourage bulk condiments. Encourage vendors to provide condiments in bulk dispensers rather than in individual packages (e.g., ketchup, salt, pepper, sugar, butter, milk, cream, etc.) Discourage single use items. If disposable supplies are distributed, ensure they are compostable or recyclable items and inform attendees. Encourage vendors to select serving ware in the following order of priority: 1) Reusable, 2) Compostable, and 3) Recyclable.
- Provide tap water. Consider eliminating the sale or distribution of single-use plastic water bottles at your event. Using reusable bottles or drinking fountains prevents waste from being generated in the first place and promotes Abbotsford’s clean tap water. Ensure there are good quality, reusable bottles for sale or distribution at the event. Drinking water fountains are also available for use at no charge on a first come first served basis from the City. To request a fountain or fountains for your event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sort your waste. Consider providing separate bins for separate waste streams at your event. Sorting event waste has the potential to reduce waste disposal costs by diverting recyclables and compostable waste from garbage, it gives your event a positive “eco” or “green” image boost, it reduces the environmental impact of your event, and promotes environmental stewardship.
- Train vendors, staff and volunteers. Engaged and educated vendors, staff and volunteers are important to the overall success of greening your event. Ensure they have been educated on your event waste initiatives prior to the event.
Event Waste Stations
A limited number of waste sorting stations are available for use at public events. Each waste station consists of four folding bins that allow for the separate collection of refundable beverage containers, recycling, compostables and garbage.
To ensure waste gets sorted property at your event, and that the material collected can actually be recycled or composted, the City recommends that waste stations are monitored on event day. Designate staff or volunteers at each station to:
- Help educate attendees on what goes where;
- Monitor recycling and compostables bins to avoid contamination;
- Ensure waste areas are clean at all times;
- Replace bags when full; and
- Transport full bags to the main waste collection area.
Event organizers continue to be responsible for the overall waste management for the event, including sourcing and securing a processor for the material, hauling the material to the processor, and financing any and all aspects of its collection and processing.
The waste stations are available on a first-come first-served basis and can be requested by emailing email@example.com. Event organizers will need to coordinate the pickup and return of the waste station supplies to City Hall both before and after the event.
Residents have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution towards a better community through volunteering with the Go Green Team at the annual City-hosted Canada Day event. Go Green Team volunteers are encouraged to monitor the waste stations to ensure attendees put the right things in the right place. Customer service and waste sorting training is provided to Go Green Team volunteers so they can assist the public with answers to their waste sorting questions. As an added bonus, much of the waste sorting training can also be applied at home, work and school to help you sort it right on a daily basis!
To sign up to be a Go Green Team volunteer, visit abbotsford.ca/volunteerapplication.
Example waste station signage: