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Special Events Volunteers

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Volunteers are critical to successful recycling at special events. Once you have estimated how much waste the special event will generate and how many bins will be required, determine how many volunteers will be needed. Solicit volunteers approximately 2-4 months prior to the event. Refer to our timeline for more details. Advertise through local newspapers, letters, message boards, radio, and other organizations. Don’t forget about colleges, universities, and high schools, as well as local service groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4-H.


It is essential that volunteers be well trained and educated. They are the ambassadors for your recycling program. Use our timeline as guidance for managing volunteer support. Brief volunteers on the general recycling program. They must know:

Supply volunteers with a map of the event that includes collection and storage locations. Shifts and locations should also be assigned prior to the event.

View the fact sheet explaining how to involve volunteers in your recycling program | PDF Version (3 pp, 108K, about PDF).

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Vendors and Event Staff

Pay additional attention to vendors. Additional attention must be paid to vendors. Assign volunteers to routinely collect recyclables from each vendor throughout the event. Also, make certain to inform event staff about recycling activities since they run the event location.

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The Event

The visibility of the volunteers is key to the success of the recycling program. They must be easily identified from the rest of the crowd. If possible, make T-shirts for them.

During the event, program volunteers will:

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After the event, volunteers should:

Don’t forget to thank the volunteers for their hard work and dedication. Without them, the program would not have worked!

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The volunteers were on the front lines of the special events recycling program and are your most valuable source for information and feedback. Once the event is over, conduct a program evaluation by talking with volunteers about the effectiveness of the program.

Ask the volunteers:

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