Special Events Volunteers
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Volunteers are critical to successful recycling at special events. Once you have estimated how much waste the special event will generate and how many bins will be required, determine how many volunteers will be needed. Solicit volunteers approximately 2-4 months prior to the event. Refer to our timeline for more details. Advertise through local newspapers, letters, message boards, radio, and other organizations. Dont forget about colleges, universities, and high schools, as well as local service groups such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4-H.
It is essential that volunteers be well trained and educated. They are the ambassadors for your recycling program. Use our timeline as guidance for managing volunteer support. Brief volunteers on the general recycling program. They must know:
- Which materials will be collected during the event.
- Where bins will be located.
- How frequently the bins will need to be emptied.
- How the materials will be transported during and after the event.
- Whether or not volunteers will be responsible for weighing and recording the amount of collected recyclables.
Supply volunteers with a map of the event that includes collection and storage locations. Shifts and locations should also be assigned prior to the event.
Vendors and Event Staff
Pay additional attention to vendors. Additional attention must be paid to vendors. Assign volunteers to routinely collect recyclables from each vendor throughout the event. Also, make certain to inform event staff about recycling activities since they run the event location.
The visibility of the volunteers is key to the success of the recycling program. They must be easily identified from the rest of the crowd. If possible, make T-shirts for them.
During the event, program volunteers will:
- Monitor bins and empty them when necessary
- Make sure signage stays in place
- Collect recyclables from vendors
- Promote recycling
- Place extra bins in areas of high traffic as needed
- Clean the bins to keep pests away
After the event, volunteers should:
- Finish any remaining recyclable material sorting.
- If the collection bins are temporary, remove the bins and signs.
- If a hauler has not been contracted, take the recyclables to the predetermined location.
- If appropriate, weigh recyclables so that the recycling rate can later be determined.
- Provide feedback to improve the effort for the next special event.
Dont forget to thank the volunteers for their hard work and dedication. Without them, the program would not have worked!
The volunteers were on the front lines of the special events recycling program and are your most valuable source for information and feedback. Once the event is over, conduct a program evaluation by talking with volunteers about the effectiveness of the program.
Ask the volunteers:
- What was successful about the program?
- What would they suggest changing for the next event?
- What materials did they see that could have been recycled but were not?
- How did the visitors react to the program?