Stadiums and Special Events

Collecting food scraps at stadiums, theme parks, fairs, festivals, and catered events creates unique challenges. Coordination between event staff, food preparation staff, consumers, waste haulers, and compost facilities is important to successful food scrap collection and composting efforts.

Model Programs

  • In Anaheim, Disneyland Resort was recognized by the EPA with the 2014 Food Recovery Challenge award for its waste diversion efforts, and for having the highest percent increase in food recovery of any theme park in the U.S. “Disneyland is a model for food recovery efforts,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator. “Disney has the potential to educate millions of people who visit the resort on zero waste, while doing its part to fight climate change and create a better environment for southern California residents.”
  • The San Francisco Giants baseball team’s home is AT&T Park. This beautiful park facility works with concessionaires and Recology to manage all aspects of solid waste, and have diverted over 3 million pounds of waste since 2010. Trash cans are located next to recycling blue, green, and black containers throughout the park for fans to use. Collection systems are also in the park’s kitchens.
  • The Offset Project (TOP) is a Monterey-based non-profit specializing in zero-waste events and environmental stewardship. TOP works with individuals, municipalities, businesses, and special event organizers to establish sound waste policies and implement best practices in environmental stewardship. Founded in 2007, the project got its start with recycling and composting stations at festivals, with members educating attendees on how to separate their own garbage to achieve the highest rate of waste diversion.
  • City of San Diego’s Petco Park concession stands and restaurants implemented a food diversion project. At the conclusion of any game or major event, food waste is placed into a compactor. The food waste is then taken to Miramar Greenery where it’s turned into compost. Petco Park also donates edible food to the San Diego Rescue Mission. In 2011, Petco Park donated 6,740 pounds of food to the mission. The park has received three WRAP awards.
  • The City of Indian Wells, in coordination with the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens and EcoNomics, Inc., piloted a food scrap diversion program in 2001. Food scraps were collected for off-site composting, and the finished compost was used at the Tennis Gardens. In addition to the Tennis Masters Series, the project diverted more than 8 tons of food scraps from two additional events. Food scrap diversion proved to be both feasible and economically viable.


Other Resources

Helpful Guidelines

  • Dedicate staff to oversee the food scrap diversion project
    Staff should place, monitor, empty, and clean scrap collection bins throughout the stadium or event. Provide educational signs for patrons, and teach vendors how to separate food scraps, (for example, food scraps must be separated from plastics and glass), deal with overflow problems, and relocate bins when necessary.
  • Food donations
    For food that is still edible when a vendor has leftover food, contact a local food bank or food recovery (also known as rescue) organization ahead of time to arrange for delivery.
  • What type of food scraps and collection bags will a compost facility accept?
    Check with the compost facility to determine if certain scraps generated at your event are acceptable, such as cheeses, sauces, meat scraps, waxed cardboard, or paper products. Collection bin liners improve bin cleanliness and reduce odors. If bin liners are made of compostable material, ask the compost operator if they will accept these.
  • Collecting food scraps from vendors
    Inform food vendors about plans to collect food scraps. Consider contractual language requiring their cooperation separating food scraps for food recovery and/or composting. A rendering company may be able to provide drums and collection service to vendors that produce meat scraps and grease.
  • Separating recyclables
    Effective separation of recyclable glass, plastic, cans, food, and paper products requires clear signs near collection bins.
  • Meat, fats, oils and grease should be rendered
    If you have meat, bone, fats, grease, and oils, arrange for their collection by a renderer. Coordinate with a local or regional renderer to provide drums and collection service for these materials from your event.
  • Transporting food scraps
    You will need a professional/licensed hauler to transport food scraps. Contact your Local Enforcement Agency for information on facilities that are authorized to accept and transport food scraps.
  • Reusable flatware and utensils
    If the event is catered, ask the caterer to provide reusable dishware and utensils. If reusable items cannot be obtained, use compostable utensils and plates. If the collected food scraps are free from plastic contamination, you will likely have more options in finding a composter.
  • Choosing a caterer
    Ask potential caterers if they can provide reusable dishware or biodegradable products, and inquire about their willingness to separate pre- and post-consumer food scraps. If there is perishable–but edible–food leftover, consider taking this food to a food recovery organization.

For more information contact: Food Scrap Management,