Special Events Recycling

Special Event Recycling Container Loan Program

Broome County has approximately 115 ClearStream© recycling containers available to organizations to borrow for free. Containers consist of a folding metal frame and removable plastic top for easy transport. Organizations should contact the Division at least two weeks in advance to reserve the recycling containers and to receive and complete a loan agreement form. For more information, please contact Debra Smith at 607-778-2250.

Special Event Planning Guidelines (pdf)

Specials events vary from small gatherings to multi-day events that are attended by hundreds of people. Often times these events are held outdoors and need to be well planned to determine what types of containers to use, where and when to place them and who will empty them. This is some of the basic information to consider.

When planning the following are some helpful tips:

  • Determine a committee or individual to oversee implementation of the program.
  • Use a timeline to help stay on task during planning.
  • Involve organizers, volunteers, haulers and vendors.
  • Plan to have trash and recycling emptied regularly.
  • During and after the event monitor & evaluate the recycling program.

What to Recycle

You should examine your waste stream to determine what to target. Generally at festivals, fairs and events food and plastics are a large quantity of the waste. The following items should be targeted for recycling:

  • Aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles, tin and cardboard.
  • Examine what food & beverages are being vended. Most often bottles and cans will be one of the primary recyclables collected.
  • Typically, vendors (and exhibitors) produce most of the corrugated cardboard waste at special events. Therefore, cardboard collection points need not be located at public recycling stations, but can be staged behind the scenes, near dumpsters. If sufficient staff is available, circulate around vendor areas to collect cardboard as it is generated. The added convenience may encourage vendors, who were not otherwise inclined, to recycle.

Recycling Containers

A variety of containers are available for purchase. The costs, plans for future reuse and storage of containers all contribute to the decision of what type of container to purchase. 
Vendor listing (for reference).

Here are some points to consider when choosing & placing a container:

  • Containers that allow individuals to see what is placed in them such as those that utilize clear bags are a direct advertisement for what should be properly place in the container which helps to decrease contamination of recyclables.
  • Take weather into account- as cardboard containers will get ruined in the rain and will not stand up to winds.
  • Place recycling and trash containers together in high traffic areas (e.g., food and vendor stalls, exhibitor booths, restrooms, entrances, exits, ATMs, etc.) or other areas near where trash is generated. Attendees are unlikely to go out of their way to recycle if a trash can is more conveniently available. Ideally, trash receptacles should not be placed without an accompanying recycling container. If space constraints or equipment shortages prohibit locating a recycling container with every trash receptacle, consider removing those trash cans.
  • Make sure that recycling containers look different than trash cans, such as different colors or shapes. Also ensure that they’re easy to use and well marked. Label recycling containers with large-print and specific wording, as well as graphics. Clearly indicate which materials must be deposited into which containers.
  • A recycling container with a specialized top is recommended to decrease contamination. A top with a circular opening for bottles and cans is preferable. An open top recycling container will have a higher level of contamination.

Education & Signage

Signage that is clear and noticeable is key to a successful program. Recycling container must be clearly identified as being for recyclables.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Use brightly colored signage to ensure recycling containers stand out from the garbage cans.
  • Recycling containers should be clearly marked on all sides and the top.
  • Use of both graphics and words help communicate what should go into the container.
  • Place signage above recycling containers.
  • Make announcements to remind public to recycle if possible.

Vendors and Staff

Work closely with all staff and event vendors to ensure proper recycling is being conducted and promoted. Work to encourage waste reduction.

  • Vendors should be clear on how and when recyclables will be collected.
  • Staff should be prepared to empty recycling containers on a routine basis so none over flow.
  • Staff should be instructed where to properly place recyclables for pickup.
  • Be sure to continue good recycling practices during the breakdown of the event.

Contracting with a Hauler

In Broome County your garbage hauler can also provide recycling services for a small fee. Often recycling has the potential to save money as there is no tip fee charged for recycling where a tip fee of $40 per ton is charged for garbage.

  • Contact a local hauler to set up hauling of recyclables to a designated recycling facility.
  • Work with hauler to get an appropriate sized container.
  • Review preparation guidelines to ensure materials are properly prepared for collection by the hauler or recycler. For example, if recyclables can remain bagged.