Waste Streams

Remember in the bad ol’ days when it was enough to just provide rubbish bins for revellers? See, you could still do that. But as Victorian events are finding out this is becoming silly expensive. In 2009 dumping into landfill using a waste company like SITA or Veolia cost just $82 a tonne. It was almost as cheap as recycling. But from July 2010 these rates are set to rise by two thirds , making recycling a viable and cost saving exercise. And eventually this will be happening across Australia…

So, this is where waste streaming at events comes in.Typically we put in place four streams during the event: Plastics & Glass, Cans & Metals, Food & Compostables & Landfill. Additionally Recyclables (’everything but plastic bags and food’)  is cited for any campsite bag deposit schemes’ (easier to communicate at the entry point to the event) and Cardboard and Hazardous Materials (back of house only) are used.

Plastics and metals are kept separated for a few reasons: from an operational perspective one bin labeled ‘recyclables’  fill’s quicker than the others, resulting in more empties per day. Also, keeping the metals separate enable’s us to get an idea of what percentage cans are making up the recycling stream. If seperated this also saves on hired space, such as skips, to store recycling and the cans can be sold as scrap metal in most states, or if you’re a lucky South Australian event then the cans can always be returned for their deposits. Finally, depending on which state or country a patron originates from  the term “recyclable’ can have slightly different connotations.

Of course there’s ongoing debate about waste streaming and labelling. Should it be General Waste instead of Landfill? It depends if you’re keen to mix and match processes (Composting and Landfill) with materials (Plastics & Metals) or stick to one or the other. We think it depends on your event cliental but it should be clear whatever you decide.