Managing waste materials at events is challenging because of the large amounts generated in a short period of time. Also, these events are often away from the home office or the operating base of the organizers. Still, with proper planning and resources, most events can set and reach zero waste goals.
The Zero Waste International Alliance defines zero waste as a goal to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for future use.
A zero waste event minimizes the amount of waste going to a landfill by diverting materials for re-use, recycling or composting. An event is typically considered to be zero waste if at least 90 percent of the waste generated is diverted. While a 100 percent landfill diversion rate is the ultimate goal, simply applying zero waste strategies to event planning can make an important difference and lead to significant waste reduction, cost savings and a positive guest experience. Any reduction in landfill generation through composting, recycling or source minimization adds value to the event and host organization.
Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA) has a variety of ways to help communities, businesses and other organizations plan to reduce or recover waste at special events. To get started, check out our Zero Waste Special Event Planning Guide, developed to help small, medium and large events reduce waste through source reduction, recycling and composting. Our sustainable materials management specialists can help you plan for waste recovery options at your special events and provide guidance throughout the planning process. Contact us at (614) 644-2798 to learn more about how we can help you meet your zero waste goals.
Ohio EPA also offers financial assistance to local governments and non-profit organizations to help establish and implement recycling and litter prevention programs. Through a partnership between Ohio EPA and Keep Ohio Beautiful, government agencies or non-profit organizations can apply for a Zero Waste Event Partnership Grant to receive recycling bins, containers and bin liners. For more information and to apply, please visit Keep Ohio Beautiful at keepohiobeautiful.org/zero-waste-event-partnership-grant.
“Whether you plan to divert a portion of waste generated from the landfill or put on a 100 percent zero waste event, the planning process starts with a robust recycling, compost and waste reduction strategy.” — Director Craig W. Butler