How Local Leaders Can Make Community Events More Sustainable

By Monica Rowand, Senior Manager, WM Advisory Services

Summer is here, and your community may have a list of events on the calendar, from concerts to sports events to graduation ceremonies and more. But have you thought of how to make those events more sustainable? Sports and entertainment venues can host up to millions of guests every year – making it imperative to manage and reduce waste in these types of dynamic environments.

Waste Management (WM) Advisory Services, North America’s leading provider of comprehensive environmental and sustainability solutions, has a team that does just that and has more than a 30-year history of providing sustainability solutions for a variety of customers of all sizes and industries, including local governments. Some of these you may recognize, like the WM Phoenix Open, and more recently, WM was named the first Official Sustainability Partner of Major League Baseball. WM is currently supporting sustainability programs for six sports leagues, ten venues, 12 golf tournaments, multiple large events, and a variety of non-sports customers. 

Here are some lessons learned that we hope you will share with your residents to help make the events in your community more sustainable. Local leaders can take the first step of ensuring adequate recycling bins and proper signage at the event.

  • Bring a reusable water bottle or make sure the cap is on plastic bottles before you recycle: Big venues typically have water fountains throughout, so bringing a reusable water bottle is a good option. If you choose to buy bottled water or another bottled beverage, don’t fret – these are made of PET plastic, which is 100 percent recyclable (just be sure to screw the cap on before placing it in the bin).
  • Drink in a can? Yes, you can recycle it: This one may be more obvious, but cans are recyclable! Cans are also one of the most important items to get in the recycle bin, as aluminum is a valuable material that is infinitely recyclable.
  • Pizza boxes can go in the recycling bin: They are recyclable, and this great cardboard can be reused; just make sure the box is mostly clean and that last slice and anything else is removed!
  • Stadium reusables: Sometimes, stadiums offer reusable cups, ice cream helmets – you name it. These can be great to reuse at home (and serve as a memorable souvenir).
  • Know what not to recycle: Knowing what to recycle is just as important as knowing what not to place in the bin. Items like potato chip bags and utensils need to go in the trash so they don’t contaminate recyclable materials.

Local leaders can also improve the sustainability of events in their community by encouraging attendees to carpool, take public transportation, walk, or bike.

If you’re looking for more recycling resources and tips, visit WM’s Recycle Right® website.

Pledge to Take Action in Your City

WM is proud to partner with NLC on the Recycle Right® campaign to help local leaders strengthen recycling efforts in their communities. Your city can take action by pledging to promote proper recycling practices at the local level, contributing to the broader improvement of the nation’s recycling system.

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