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Special Event Recycling and Container Loan Program

The county was a leader in special event recycling, starting the program in 1999 at the St. Louis County Fair and Air Show. Each year more and more venues provide recycling and zero waste events (where organics are also collected). Many haulers and recyclers now offer special event recycling services.
The Solid Waste Management Program can provide technical assistance and a container loan program for small events. You can arrange to borrow clear stream recycling containers for your event by downloading this Clear Stream Recycling Container Form. Below is a brief special event recycling planning guide or download a detailed Recycling Plan for Special Events PDF.

Recycling at Your Event
1. Designate a recycling coordinator.
2. Make a recycling plan.
  • What kind of recycling containers (totes, bins, clear streams) will you use?
  • Where will the recycling containers be located and how many will you need? Best results allow one recycling container placed by each trash container. 
  • Use clear bags for recycling and black bags for waste.
3. Establish a collection system.
  • Who will empty the recycling during the event? Make sure that recycling is kept separate from trash.
  • When the festival or event is over, who is responsible for disposing of the recyclables? Your waste hauler may provide a recycling option, or if you have a small event, recyclables can be taken to a recycling drop-off location.
4. Let it be known!
  • Ensure that all event planners and volunteers know that recycling will be available during the event.
  • Clearly mark recycling containers and include a short list of what can be recycled.
  • If possible, require vendors to only use recyclable cups. Announce to participants that recycling is an option, and remind them throughout the event.
  • Round up recycling volunteers, if possible, to help event attendees sort their waste, separating recyclables from non-recyclables.
5. A Word About Organic Collection
  • Organics collected at a special event can only be composted at a licensed composting facility.  It is illegal to back yard compost materials not generated on the premises.  Contracting with a service to provide organics recovery is strongly advised.
  • Vendor cooperation in using recyclable or compostable tableware is critical for success.
  • Monitoring at collection stations is critical!