Resource Recovery Hierarchy

Prioritise your way out of wasted resources!

You may have heard of the waste hierarchy; Reduce Reuse Recycle…

Well, this has been significantly upgraded in recent years. It forms the crux of concepts such as Zero Waste, and is wound into waste and resource recovery laws, directives, policy and regulations. 

It is designed as a reminder of how to prioritise your actions when considering zero wasted resources.

Use this as a foundation for all your waste management and resource recovery efforts.

Remember…. ‘waste’ at events is a resource…and waste management is a resource recovery exercise!


The Resource Recovery Hierarchy…an event perspective.

1. Rethink

Does your event need it? Prevent waste in the first place. Design for durability. Hire, don’t buy. Plan for disassembly.

2. Refuse 

Refuse to accept wasteful products, event design, concepts, activations or logistics. 

3. Reduce

Reduce packaging size, volume, thickness. Create less things. Plan in quantities, waste less. Use less. Plan for less. Design out waste-in-waiting. Replace disposable with re-usable.

4. Re-use

​Design for re-use. Using ‘as-is’. Keep dates and sponsor logos off stuff. Arrange storage. Share with others. Gift.

5. Repair

Repair what you can. Purchase materials that have replacement parts and can be repaired.

6. Re-purpose

Design for re-purposing. Plan salvage systems. Organise recipients.

7. Recycle/Compost

​Using waste as ingredients for new materials. Assess local markets for recyclable material. Assess local facilities for segregation.  Match procurement with recycling options. Plan resource capture and segregation.

8. Recovery

Extracting energy from waste resources.
Waste to energy through incineration or pyrolysis. Convert biodegradable materials
through anaerobic digestion.

9. Disposal

Disposal without material or energy recovery. Send waste to landfill. Send waste for incineration.