Where does it go?
Do you know where your recycling ends up? Truly?
Saying goodbye to your lovingly segregated resources at the back gate of the venue or event site, should not be your final concern.
If you’ve checked out where it will go locally to be further segregated, and truly want to know what happens next, you need to follow your materials flow.
They key to great resource recovery is to have your resources feeding the circular economy, as locally as possible. You may have heard that China has banned waste imports. Yes that’s right. The ‘west’ ships its waste offshore, into an opaque recycling system. The overflow of that ban by China has meant that waste then found its way into other south East Asian countries, with possibly even more dubious handling systems.
If you wish to be a responsible resource recover-er – you need to truly know where your resources will end up.
I was impressed with an event I did in New Zealand, where the cleaning contractor, Clean Event NZ, provided a chain of custody report for each and every segregated material. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this was standard process from all contractors?
Include clauses within supplier agreements, that Contractors collect data and report where your materials will end up.
The more of us that ask, the more transparent this industry will have to be.
Watch these long form investigative journalism pieces on where recycling from UK and Australia goes.
Glastonbury Festival in the UK comes under fire every year for the waste that is remaining. But the effort they put in behind the scenes is monumental. I should know! I was the first dedicated sustainability manager for that event and I witnessed the impressive system that exists. Sadly, we still see mountains of waste left from this and many other music festivals.
In 2019 they finally stopped selling single-use plastic water bottles, and several years ago they started the re-usable beer cup. With a renewed focus on the production waste, this event will hopefully make even bigger in roads into reducing wasted resources.