Venues and Events: Reducing Waste

Activities at venue and events can generate a significant amount of waste in a short period of time. Results released in 2006 of a study of 25 different venues and events in California indicated that on average 2.44 pounds of waste is generated per visitor, per day. Addressing this issue Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 2176 (Montanez, Chapter 879, Statutes of 2004) into law targeting mandatory planning for reduction of waste generated at venues and events. The law requires the largest venue facilities and events (as defined) in each city and county to plan for solid waste reduction and upon request, report information regarding their waste reduction efforts to their local jurisdiction.

Cities and counties in California and State-owned or operated facilities also have waste reduction mandates that they must fulfill and maintain. Thus, they are increasingly looking to find ways to assist in reducing waste at the venues and events held at their facilities or located within their boundaries.

  • Owners/Operators. Tools and resources to assist venue and event operators, managers, planners, owners, and promoters plan and implement a waste reduction program.
  • Food Scraps Management at Hotels/Restaurants
  • Food Scraps Management at Stadiums and Special Events
  • Local Jurisdictions. Tools to aid local jurisdictions in their efforts to assist venues and events divert waste from landfills and the venues and events waste diversion program data needed to fulfill the reporting requirements of the law.
  • Laws. Legislative mandates addressing and impacting solid waste reduction at venues and events.

Local Jurisdictions

The waste generated at venues and events can contribute significantly to the total waste generated in a local jurisdiction. Thus it is advantageous for local jurisdictions to assist owners/operators of venues and events that operate within their jurisdictional boundaries to develop and implement waste reduction programs.

In addition, the venues and events waste reduction law (Public Resources Code 42648) mandates that local jurisdictions report to CalRecycle on a certain percentage of the venues and events that operate within their jurisdictional boundaries.

  • Model Venue/Event Waste Division/Recycling Data Sheet
    Jurisdictions may provide this data sheet to owners/operators of venues and events to assist them in providing data regarding their waste diversion programs. This data must be included in a jurisdiction’s annual report to CalRecycle.
  • Model Letter From a Local Jurisdiction to a Venue or Event
    This sample letter may be customized and used by local jurisdictions to alert owners/operators of venues and events to the mandates and inform them of their reporting obligations. The letter is intended to accompany the Model Venue/Event Waste Division/Recycling Data Sheet. Another more generic version is also available.
  • Brochure: Waste Reduction Tips for Large Venues and Events
    The quick reference brochure provides tips on how to implement a successful venue or event waste reduction program. Local jurisdictions may find the brochure useful in providing waste reduction information to permit applicants as mandated by Public Resources Code 42648 (a) (1). The brochure has space for local jurisdictions to list their own resource contacts, such as where to take diverted materials or local contacts for additional information.
  • Pre-Assessment Questionnaire
    If you will be assisting a venue or event with a waste assessment, you may find it useful to provide this questionnaire to the venue or event operator to complete to the best of their ability prior to your on-site assessment. To complete the questionnaire, they are asked about the type of venue or event, the type of vendors they work with, their current waste handling practices, and current waste diversion activities, if any. Providing it to the operator in advance of your visit allows them time they may need to compile the information instead of trying to provide it on the spot. Having this completed questionnaire in hand when you arrive on site will save time for both you and the venue or event owner/operator. It will also help focus your efforts and activities once you arrive.
  • Ordinances and Policies
    In addition to leading by example by implementing waste reduction programs at the venue facilities and events they operate, local jurisdictions can “level the playing field” for all venues and events by developing policies that encourage waste reduction and the purchase of recycled-content products.


Do you own, manage, or oversee waste management at a venue facility, such as a stadium, convention center, or amusement park? Are you the promoter or manager of an event such as a food festival or cultural celebration? If so, have you ever considered the impact of the waste generated at your venue or event and the associated costs?

State law mandates large venues and large events, as defined in Public Resources Code Sections 42648 (b) and (c), to plan and implement waste reduction programs. Also included are requirements for specified venues and events to report waste diversion information to the local jurisdiction in which they are located. However, many venues and events strive to reduce their waste simply to increase profits. In addition, many venues and events realize that taking a leadership role in environmental programs, such as waste reduction, is regarded more favorably by customers, employees, and the surrounding community. Venues and events that visibly act to reduce waste can motivate patrons and other businesses to do the same.

Policies. Don’t reinvent the wheel! Review examples of policies adopted by other venues and events. Up front adoption of policies requiring participation in your waste reduction program ensures that waste reduction best practices are adhered to by those you do business with such as vendors and concessionaires.

Planning and Implementation. Tools and tips help you select programs and develop and implement a waste diversion plan. A step-by-step guide is available to lead you through the process.

For more information contact, the Office of Public Affairs,