Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Assess a venues waste stream to determine what is being thrown away and what materials can be recycled. This information will serve as a baseline for future comparison of the amount of materials diverted from the waste stream through recycling. It also will provide information for cost reduction comparisons. Cost reduction associated with recycling is most apparent when a consistent amount of materials is diverted from the waste stream and recycled over a period of time.
Most on the go discards are used beverage containers (aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and glass bottles), however newspapers are generated at transit hubs and concessionaires generate significant amounts of corrugated cardboard. Learn how to involve concessionaires in your recycling program. Use the volume to weight conversion chart (PDF) (21 pp, 236K, about PDF) to estimate the amount of each material you are generating. Some of the materials that should be considered are:
- Food scraps
- Corrugated cardboard
- Old newspaper
Visit EPA;s Common Wastes & Materials page to learn more about typical materials recovered for recycling in the United States.
Conducting a Waste Assessment
Waste assessments can be done in a number of ways. It is not necessary to survey every trash can to obtain useful results.
This type of waste assessment estimates the amount of waste produced based on the amount of materials purchased for use at the venue. Examine records such as purchasing invoices, sales logs, and waste hauling records for the venue and its concessionaires. Keep in mind the results may not be accurate if the public brings items into the venue.
A venue walk-through is a relatively quick way to assess waste generating practices. Tour the venue and its groundsincluding the parking lotduring or right after an event. Observe the activities of each area, and interview employees and concessionaires about waste-producing activities and products.
Waste sorts can focus on the entire venues waste stream or target specific areas, such as concession areas or the parking lot. Identify each component of your venues waste stream and calculate its percentage of total waste generation. In a waste sort, materials are taken from the trash cans, sorted, and weighed. This gives a better waste ratio but is more time-consuming than a walk-through.
divided by total discarded (by weight) + recycled (by weight)