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Managing litter and waste

Guidelines for event organisers


  1. Introduction
  2. Before your event
  3. During your event
  4. After your event
  5. Additional information


Belfast hosts a wide variety of outside events throughout the year, from community festivals to larger events such as concerts and sports competitions. Regardless of size, all events create litter, both within and surrounding the event setting.

As an event organiser we want you to take greater responsibility for reducing litter and non-recyclable waste at your events and we want visitors and spectators to enjoy the event in a safe and litter-free environment.

You should read the following sections and try to put these tips into action before, during and after your event.

2. Before your event

Arranging cleansing and waste collection

Once you know the type and amount of waste you expect at your event you can make the necessary cleanup and waste management arrangements. Depending on the size of your event you can contact us to order a commercial waste collection service (we will deliver and collect waste bins).

You may want to hire a private company to manage cleansing and waste management before, during and after the event.

2.1 Commercial waste collection service

The cost of setting up a waste collection contract for your event with our commercial waste collection service will depend on the type and number of bins you use. Our staff will be able to advise you of the best type and the amount of bins you will need for your event.

Our commercial waste collection service provides:

  • a reliable service
  • a citywide collection service
  • a city centre evening collection service
  • Saturday collections in certain parts of Belfast
  • a choice of bins (type and size)
  • excellent customer support
  • discounted rates for schools, charities and churches
  • a legal contract

2.2 Cleansing

Almost all events in the city need extra cleansing to make sure that both inside and outside the event setting and the streets stay relatively litter-free. Depending on the size, location and nature of your event, cleansing may already be a condition of your entertainment licence (you must apply to our Building Control Service for this).

Otherwise you can arrange for volunteers or a private company to litter-pick and clean the area, but it is important to remember that they should be working towards a high standard of street cleanliness.

3. During your event

Limiting litter

There are a number of measures you can take to make people more responsible for their own litter and waste during your event. These include raising awareness of social responsibility and the environmental impact of the event by:

  • making regular announcements over the public address system to gently remind people to put all their waste in the litter and recycling bins
  • acknowledging the support of local businesses and the general public at the event, who are disposing of their waste responsibly and keeping the event litter-free
  • erecting banners and displays to give a visual reminder that it is a litter-free event and that commitment is needed to keep our environment ‘clean and green’ for example ‘Litter-free event’. (You can also include your reminder on any flyers or posters that you are producing for the event)
  • engaging directly with your audience through anti-litter and waste management promotions; and
  • informing local media of your efforts to ‘green’ your event

3.1 Volunteers and staff

Motivated staff are important to the overall success of greening your event. However, if your event is not big enough to warrant hiring an external cleansing company to carry out waste management and cleaning you may find it useful to have trained volunteers to carry out these duties during and after your event.

They could:

  • monitor and empty waste and recycling bins regularly. If possible post volunteers at waste stations to make sure that waste is placed in the right bin. (If waste stations are not monitored during the event, people will be less inclined to separate their waste)
  • conduct occasional sweeps of the site to keep your event litter-free
  • educate visitors at larger events how to separate their waste properly and tell them about the system your event is using. This will help reduce contamination in the different bins.

It may be helpful to provide special shirts for your volunteers so that they are easy to recognise by people looking for waste information.

4. After your event

To remove all traces of litter and waste created by your event it is a good idea to get as many staff and volunteers as possible to help with the post-event cleanup. To ensure maximum interest and participation among local volunteers and the community you should circulate details of how to get involved well in advance of your event.

We can help facilitate community cleanups:

  • providing cleanup equipment, including brushes, shovels, litter picks, bags and gloves,
  • collecting equipment and bagged waste after the cleanup
  • helping to promote the cleanup event with flyers or leaflets.

Community cleanups not only help the environment, but they are a great way of:

  • encouraging those taking part to take pride in their community
  • building team spirit
  • improving community relations.

You can read more about organising your cleanup visit or call us on 028 9027 0230.

5. Additional information

Managing litter and waste at your event - checklist

  • Bins
    Organise bins for both litter and recyclable waste, inside and outside your event.
  • Extra cleaning needs
    Arrange extra cleaning of your event site and the area around your event setting, both during and after your event.
  • Awareness raising
    Encourage participants to be responsible with their litter and waste throughout your event.
  • Staffing
    Motivate and equip staff and volunteers to manage your waste and to help participants dispose of their waste and litter at your event.
  • Community cleanup
    Organise for a group of enthusiastic local volunteers cleanup after your community event.
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