Every event has special features and unique challenges and its own way of handling them. When it comes to waste reduction and recycling, festivals and fairs of many kinds share some circumstances that are important to consider in plans for waste reduction and recycling.

Events Use Materials Subject to Wisconsin's Recycling Law

  • The State's Recycling Law prevents the landfilling of certain materials which may be used at festivals and fairs.
    • Bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, landscaping debris, tires, oil and large appliances are among the materials subject to the law.
      • Event-goers use and discard plastic bottles.
      • Behind the scenes, vendors use and discard plastic, metal and glass food containers and cardboard boxes.
      • Grounds keeping results in leaves, grass clippings and other landscaping debris.
      • The event headquarters may generate waste similar to that of an office � lots of paper.
    • Every Wisconsin community has a recycling ordinance with language similar to that of the State Law.
      • Local ordinances may state fines for violations. The fines can be imposed if a citizen complains and are often preceded with a warning and time to fix the problems.
      • State and local officials offer information and assistance to help public facilities (and others) comply with the law.
      • Some communities offer recycling hauling services and bins for loan; others have advice and referrals to help event organizers.

Fairs and Festivals Involve Many Players

  • Planning committees, grounds crews, sponsors, vendors, site owners, hauling companies, volunteers and the public all take part in making the event happen and influence the success of recycling.
    • Many organizations and individuals need information about the recycling and waste reduction plans and what is expected of them.
      • Communication occurs via requests for proposals, specifications, contracts, job descriptions, training, signs, letters, on-site conversations and more.
      • Many points of view can be tapped to guide plans for an effective program.
      • There are opportunities for input during planning and feedback after the program begins.

Timeframes are Fast-paced

  • There's no time for a lengthy learning process.
    • Grounds crew members and vendors need clear easy instructions and the ability to fix problems as they arise.
      • A common-sense approach and efficient operations make procedures easy to use.
      • The public may not stay long enough to form new habits but already has habits for recycling at home .
      • Some event recycling practices mirror the habits people have at home while others are new and require prominent and repetitive instructions.
  • Prompt problem-solving is essential
    • If the best plans don't eliminate a problem, fast reactions are important.
      • When an unexpected duty comes up, knowing whose job it is can be unclear and it can go neglected when all participants are busy with urgent responsibilities.
      • Small problems become big problems quickly. A plan for the unexpected can include a dedicated trouble-shooter and ways for others to communicate about problems, make decisions and act.
  • The Program must operate while crowds are present
    • Safety of workers and bystanders are considerations in planning operations.
      • There must be a way to safely maintain facilities while crowds are dense or the capacity to let waste receptacles fill for a longer time without maintenance.
      • The use of vehicles may be limited while the event is running.
      • Tamper-proof materials and storage areas are needed.
    • Busy times for events are off-times for haulers .
      • Waste materials could be stored until the work week resumes or collected while overtime fees are in effect.

Disposables are Prevalent

  • Most of the waste stream at a festival originates with food and beverage vendors.
    • Safety concerns, convenience and facilities influence the choice of materials used.
      • Even when dishwashing is available, the use of glass outdoors may be regulated. Recyclable metal cans and glass bottles are prohibited on some sites, increasing the use of recyclable plastic bottles and disposable cups.
  • Reusable signs, displays, bins and supplies can help events reduce waste and save money.
    • Storage opportunities can help festivals reuse supplies and shorten the annual list of tasks related to ordering and assembling.
      • Materials used year after year should be tough enough to withstand repeated assembly, disassembly, transportation and storage conditions as well as use during the event.
      • A shortage of storage space may dictate supplies designed for convenient and compact storage.
  • Waste detracts from the look and mood of the event.
    • The trash produced at festivals is visible to the clients. Recycling and waste reduction efforts improve appearances
      • A recent study showed that 67% of Wisconsin residents are �strongly committed to recycling.� Recycling and waste reduction not only make for cleaner events, but show commitment to the community.

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