Front of House Waste

So what waste is created front of house?

The type and volume of waste created front-of-house is as varied as there are event types! A common denominator is generally the food and beverage service.

However at events such as exhibitions, trade shows and community fairs, front-of-house waste can be generated from packaging, unwanted giveaways, fan paraphernalia (a big one at sporting events), and discarded campsite equipment (is a ubiquitous scene at events with live-on campsites with less-than-responsible clientele). 

Not all events will have bins front-of-house bins, but most do. Exceptions could be gala dinners, awards ceremonies, balls and other special events where there are floor staff servicing event attendees. But even at these events, in the common areas such as the foyer, reception and bathrooms, you’ll find bins.

Be aware that unless you have strict gated entry requirements, there will be unexpected items that make their way onto your site and into your bins, into the hands and bags and strollers of your visitors!

If you can control the food and beverage sold, restrict what attendees are allowed bring to the site or venue, and regulate what event participants, such as exhibitors are allowed to do, then you can directly influence the production of waste. 

Be intimately familiar with the contents of your FOH bins

You can expect to see items such as…

  • foodservice packaging (cups, plates, bowls, trays, cutlery, napkins)
  • uneaten food
  • aluminium cans, plastic and glass bottles
  • unwanted giveaways
  • newspaper/magazines, flyers, programmes
  • plastic bags
  • general packaging (e.g. crisp and ice-cream wrappings)
  • packaging from merchandise purchases
  • spectator paraphernalia, confetti bombs…
  • cigarette packets, butts, chewing gum
  • lanyards and name tags
  • camping equipment, picnic setups
  • cigarette packets and cigarette butts, chewing gum

I worked on and event that had an installation of a word spelled out made from huge blocks of polystyrene. These unfortunately, and maybe predictably, were damaged by the crowd resulting in what was similar to beanbags being slashed and tipped all over the ground!

I’ve also seen the sponsor the recycling and composting at an event, where all food packaging was to be composted, give out sample pots en masse, which, incredibly, were neither compostable or recyclable!