Waste Impacts

Why measure waste impacts?

There are good environmental and economic reasons why event managers need to consider the amounts of waste generated through the event life cycle, and opportunities to recycle. Why should we try and assess the connection between events and waste production, and recycling behaviour? Answers include:

  • Excessive litter and waste at event sites can undermine stakeholder and sponsor support for events, and can threaten the status of future events.
  • Excessive waste on event sites and poor management of waste streams affects the experience of visitors, and can impact on future visitation.
  • Waste-handling and landfill is costly for event organisers and for society. Landfilled waste and the transportation of waste cause harmful emissions.
  • Poorly managed waste streams can have long term environmental impacts. These impacts can be acute where events are held adjacent to countryside and water courses.

In addition to this, events through their communications can educate visitors and participants about the environmental impacts of waste, and can work to change consumer behaviour with respect to waste, packaging and recycling. Large scale events also have the potential to promote sustainable behaviours on waste production and treatment with suppliers of goods and services.

For these reasons approaches to waste management, waste reduction and recycling should form part of event planning before the event, and the waste streams generated by events (directly and indirectly) should be monitored.

Measuring waste can be problematic

Volumes, nature and destination of waste associated with an event, either as part of infrastructure development, event operations or visitor consumption are complex to measure. This is due to the mix of responsible agents, venues, local authorities, organisers and attendees/participants.

Within the framework of ISO 20121 scoping expected event waste impacts is appropriate, together with key drivers, and how waste flows will be managed. As this is an area where event organisers do not have sole responsibility, engagement with partners (typically contractors and local authorities) is important, and will assist with data collection. For smaller events it is expected that process monitoring will take precedence over quantitative measurement: i.e.

  • Is the waste strategy fit for purpose?
  • Are waste facilities signposted?
  • Are attendees advised to requirement to deposit, reduce and recycle waste?

Waste Basic Measures

What are the Basic Measures

Find out more

Waste Intermediate Measures

What are the Intermediate Measures

Find out more

Waste Advanced Measures

What are the Advanced Measures

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