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Getting the right infrastructure

‘Infrastructure’ refers primarily to the waste collection systems employed at an event. Your aim is to:

  • provide an adequate number of bins relative to the size and scale of your event and ensure these are strategically located
  • work with vendors to provide compostable service ware and utilise bin infrastructure that supports effective waste management
  • configure segregated back-of-house and front-of-house systems to maximise recovery of materials.

Use the Waste Calculator Tool to support your understanding of bin requirements and discuss your event, expected number of patrons and duration with your waste management provider or collection contractor.

A basic estimate for food and beverage waste is 1 litre per patron per meal. This will vary depending on catering, number of attendees and waste minimisation strategies used.

Bin systems

For front-of-house (FOH) systems, three co-located streams are recommended

  • organics - food and compostable items
  • recycling (10 cent drink containers and/or co-mingled recycling)
  • landfill.

A back-of-house (BOH) system usually has five co-located streams

  • organics - food and compostable items
  • recycling (10 cent drink containers and/or co-mingled recycling)
  • paper and cardboard
  • soft plastics or pallet wrap
  • landfill.

Separate streams also may be required for:

  • sanitary items
  • nappies
  • cigarette butts
  • e-waste, batteries and lighting
  • waste oil.
Bin placement

To maximise capture and diversion, bins should be located

  • at entrances and exits
  • near tables or grounds where food is consumed
  • along walkways and high traffic areas
  • near toilets or other utilities
  • at car parks.
Bin signage and colour standards

Providing consistent signage and messaging helps to avoid confusion and reduce contamination. Ensure signage is clear and highly visible – on the bins, on the lid of bins and, if possible, above the bins. Some event waste management suppliers offer signage and bin covers as part of their package or as an additional cost.

Green Industries SA also has sets of printable signage available for events – Events Resources

These are in line with Australian Standards AS 4123.7 2006: Mobile waste containers - Colours, markings, and designation to promote consistency in systems across all settings.

When printing signage for use, consider where the bins will be located.

  • Do you need to have signs professionally printed on material that can withstand harsh weather conditions or have an extended life?
  • Do you need to resize signs to fit the side and lids off the bins you will be using?

If existing council public bins will be available, consider how best to incorporate these with the event if possible. For example, additional bins could be colocated with these to create bin stations. Alternatively,

existing public bins could be covered and patrons directed to event bin stations.

For more detailed information about recommended bin systems and signage for front-of-house and back-of-house areas see Events Resources

Waste streams generated at events and venues

The waste streams generated at events and venues are highly variable. Below is a list of some of the key materials that may be generated and the optimal waste collection streams for these items.


Food waste (including preparation), serviettes, paper towels, compostable items (including service ware), garden waste.

Organics - food and compostable items

Segregated food and any other compostable materials are taken to a composting facility and processed into soil improvement products.

Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) containers

10 cent bottles and cans

Sorted at collection depots before materials are reprocessed into new products. Organisations (e.g., Scouts South Australia) can be engaged to manage this stream.

Bottles (glass, plastic), jars, cans, hard plastic or metal containers, liquid paperboard, mixed paper and cardboard

Co-mingled recycling

Recyclables are separated at a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) for reprocessing into new products.

Cardboard, paper, flyers and brochures

Cardboard and/or paper

The cardboard is collected, baled and reprocessed into new paper and cardboard products and packaging.

Soft plastic packaging such as ice bags, chip wrappers, cling wrap and zip lock bags.

Soft plastic

Mixed soft plastics may be collected in dry recycling streams.

Very clean streams of segregated soft plastics, such as pallet wrap, may be recycled into new plastic products.

Items unsuitable for recycling such as masks and wipes, cable ties, plastic strapping, mixed packaging, novelty promotional items, nappies

General waste

Material is sent to landfill. No further value is extracted from the materials.

As an alternative to landfill, ‘dry waste’ services may be available. Organics and other ‘wet wastes’ need to be kept separate from these dry waste services. This material is processed at a local facility into fuel for use as a gas alternative and sits within the ‘recovery’ rung of the waste management hierarchy.