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Do You Know Where Your Event Waste Goes?

Were you aware that the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 require all business to apply the waste hierarchy when discarding items of waste:

  1. Prevention
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle
  4. Recover
  5. Dispose

To improve recycling rates and limit the amount of waste going to landfill, the regulations were also updated in January to include a legislative focus on source segregation, so that ‘waste collectors must collect waste paper, metal, plastic and glass separately’.

But do you know that your waste management company is upholding this, and recycling your event waste? and what happens with your segregated waste once it leaves site? 

There is a simple way to check, and that is to request the waste transfer notes, which identify where the waste has been take. By law, a waste collection company must supply these.

So how can you know if the place that your waste has been deposited was the best local option?

It makes sense to check in advance where your waste can be taken to in the local area

So here is an overview of some of the methods of waste processing:

Ideal Processing Plants for recycling

MRF- Materials Recovery Facility = these do vary greatly in their capacity so worth checking what they will recycle and the costs per tonne.

Composting (Look for PAS100) – Food waste and often cardboard and wood serveware – check in advance to see what can be processed.

Anaerobic Digester (Look for PAS110)  – Can take food waste and toilet waste

Processing plants for recovery

  • R1 (high efficiency) incinerator – Burning materials means more raw materials have to be sourced
  • Anaerobic Digester (NOT PAS110) – Can take food waste and toilet waste
  • Composting (NOT PAS100) – Food waste and often cardboard and wood serveware – check in advance to see what can be processed.
  • MBT- Mechanical-biological treatment

Processing plants for Disposal

  • Incinerator – no energy is extracted during this process
    Landfill – compostable/biodegradable items should not be placed in landfill because they create methane which has a 20-25 times greater impact on climate change than CO2

 What can you do before your event?

Investigate the local options and understand what waste streams they can take and how they will receive them- cardboard food boxes and wooden forks with food waste, mixed plastics etc.

Work with your waste contractor to ensure you know your waste will be managed how you expect to fit with your environmental policy and targets.

Want to know more?

This information comes from a forthcoming guide commissioned by the Bristol Festival Forum and written by Ed Cook from Resource Futures. The guide will be launched in September and will include a document to send to waste contractors to gather the relevant data including waste transfer notes. It will mean you can complete a carbon report or the Julie’s Bicycle IG tools, which we highly recommend as a way of understanding the carbon footprint of your event.