Case Studies: Venues and Events: Reducing Waste

Case studies of the experiences of others are a great resource for generating ideas for what might work for you, dealing with challenges, and demonstrating that waste diversion programs can be successful.


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  • 2004 Democratic National Convention. Convention organizers saved $9,358 through planned deconstruction and recyclingPDF download of event stages and booth materials.
  • Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. The managers of this event have written detailed case studies on how they significantly reduced solid waste generation at their conferences.
  • Moscone Center, San Francisco, California (1996-2001). One of the busiest convention centers in the country cut their waste disposal tonnage in half. Winner of the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.


  • Del Mar Fairgrounds (2005). The 375-acre facility in San Diego County, California hosts more than 3 million visitors annually to a year-round schedule of activities including a county fair, theme shows, and a horse racing season.



  • Food Scrap Management at Stadiums and Special Events. Model programs, tools, guidelines and other resources for collecting food scraps for compost at stadiums, fairs, festivals, and catered events.
  • Indian Wells Tennis Center. A six-minute video showing the process for collecting kitchen waste generated at a major tennis tournament for use as compost.
  • Game Changer: How the Sports Industry Is Saving the Environment. This report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) provides a collection of never-before-assembled case studies of the sports industry’s most prominent and successful greening initiatives from across North America.
    • San Francisco GiantsPDF download. This baseball team saved more than $100,000 on their garbage disposal in 2004 by implementing a recycling and composting program at AT&T Park. AT&T Park and the Giants are committed to keeping waste out of the landfill with an aggressive annual goal of 90 percent diversion. In 2009, they diverted 57 percent and by 2013, diversion was over 86 percent. They work closely with their waste hauler, concessionaires and other partners to reach these goals. AT&T Park has a Recycle Processing Center and nearly all drinkware and food packaging is compostable/recyclable.
    • STAPLES Center in Los AngelesPDF download. The home of the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, and Los Angeles Sparks has a variety of green initiatives in addition to a robust back-of-the-house recycling program.
  • Winning With Zero Waste.” A June 2014 article from BioCycle magazine exploring zero waste programs at sports venues. Features case studies from the San Francisco Giants, U.S. Open Tennis Championships, Vancouver Canucks, and Penn State University.
  • University of California, Davis: Zero Waste Aggie StadiumPDF download. Achieved waste diversion of 90 percent or more through recycling and composting in both 2012 and 2014 in the GameDay Recycling Challenge.


  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center at Balboa Park. Staff at this year round Science Center have taken many initiatives to implement recycling at the facility. Other environmentally friendly steps have also been taken to reduce water and energy consumption.
  • Work of Art, Event Planning and Catering Waste Reduction Program (2000). This innovative caterer has successfully implemented a “zero-waste events” program while maintaining the highest standards for food and service quality in a very competitive mark.

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