Jump to main content.

Special Events

Photo of a festival

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

What do craft shows, outdoor rock festivals, the Boston Marathon, and 4th of July fireworks celebrations have in common? Other than a good time for attendees, each event involves the generation of waste and recyclables by the public, vendors, concessionaires, and exhibitors.

When looking for a place to host an event, keep in mind that many venues already have recycling programs in place.

If the special event is held in a venue without a recycling program, collecting recyclables usually is a temporary activity supported by volunteers. Recycling programs often reduce disposal costs for special events and can bring in revenue from the sale of recyclable materials.

Target Areas


Because many special events occur outdoors, and often take place in public spaces without a permanent recycling infrastructure, planning is particularly important to ensure the success of a recycling program at a special event. Decisions about what types of bins to use, where and when to place them, and who will empty them need to be made early in the planning stage.


Recycling Bins

The nature of the event, the anticipated weather conditions, likelihood of reusing the bins in future events, costs, and many other factors contribute to the decision about what types of bins to use at a special event. Event organizers can choose one of several approaches: renting, purchasing (particularly for an annual event), or using disposable bins. In addition, some recycling service providers may supply bins as part of their contracts for service.


Education and Signage

Clear and noticeable signs indicating where the public can recycle are essential to ensuring a successful recycling program at a special event.



Although volunteers are not needed at every special event, their support can help ensure the success of recycling programs for many events.


Vendors and Event Staff

Work with concessionaires, exhibitors, vendors, and event staff before, during, and after the event to reduce unnecessary waste and recycle as much as possible.


Success Stories


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.