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PARKS EVENT RECYCLING
Most of the waste generated within parks come from community visitors. While waste from normal operating days may be easily maintained, parks are often the site of concerts, festivals, and other special events that could potentially overwhelm the park’s waste or recycling capacity.
For special events in local parks, planning ahead can help decrease the amount of waste generated.
1. Before the event day, determine what recycling options the park already has in place. This may include bins and signs already located within the park. Event organizers should also determine what type of waste will be generated during the event, such as food containers, beverage containers, cardboard, paper from flyers, and other types of material from souvenirs.
a. Consider options that will reduce the amount of waste created, such as limiting food packaging.
b. Work with everyone involved in the event to create a recycling plan. Involve the vendors who will be participating in the event, indicating the targeted materials for recycling. Make the recycling responsibilities of vendors clear in a mutual contract.
c. Make an informed decision when choosing a recycling hauler. Inquire about any special deals, as well as the company’s experience hauling for special events. Consider the range of acceptable materials, collection container availability, and the hauler’s willingness and ability to collect and report data.
d. Inform your event staff of recycling locations and issue recycling duties to each person. Many volunteers can be recruited through message boards, schools, and local civic clubs.
e. Choose recycling bins wisely. Bins may be rented, purchased, or loaned from some recycling haulers. Make sure the recycling bins are visually distinct from trash receptacles. Be sure the bins will hold up in the weather, and purchase more durable bins for extended events. If possible, use clear liners for the bins, which allows for easier monitoring.
f. Make a plan for food waste. Reduce food waste by purchasing bulk items versus those that are individually packaged, and use refillable containers for condiments. Explore local composting options for food scraps and contaminated paper. Any prepared or fresh leftover food can be donated to charities or food banks. These organizations may even be willing to help with collection.
2. On the day or days of the park event, allow plenty of time to organize supplies and volunteers.
a. Focus bin placement in high traffic areas near exits and entrances, restrooms, and concession areas. Provide a location map for any attendees and event staff.
b. Signs and banners with graphics help easily direct attendees. Images of the recyclables also help non-English speakers to comply.
c. Create a central location where haulers can pick up materials and staff can sort and observe material overflow.
3. After the event is over, be sure to coordinate with vendors to collect their recyclables. Appoint volunteers to oversee and assist with breakdown of booths, sorting, collecting, and transporting materials for pickup.
b. Gather feedback and suggestions from staff, organizers, volunteers, and vendors about the recycling plan.
c. Write a summary of the recycling results for future plans. Provide a copy of these results to the event staff, vendors, and other stakeholders.
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