At orange, our offices are open for those who need to visit us in person. We also have a wide range of services available online or via the phone – using these will help reduce the risk and keep each other safe. Check out our COVID-19 response page for more details.

Zero Waste Events

A zero waste event is one where careful consideration is given to the products used on site and where these will end up post event.

As well as showing you care for our beautiful district, running a zero waste event has many positive benefits and is a great opportunity to enhance the profile of your event.

There are many ways to start your journey towards a zero waste event, below are 5 easy steps to help get started. Otherwise you can download a PDF of the below here. 


  • To effectively manage waste at your event, you first need a clear picture of how much is likely to be produced and what kind of waste it will be. Key things to consider include when planning include;

    • How long is the event?

    • How many people are expected to attend?

    • What types of stalls or activities will there be?

    • What materials will you allow stallholders and attendees to bring into the event?

    Top tip: A daytime only event will generate approximately 1–2 litres of waste per person

    Once you know roughly what waste is coming into your event you can start to plan for how to best manage it.

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  • The greatest opportunity to minimise event waste is to prioritise reducing and reusing.

    • Provide water refill stations instead of bottled water.

    • Choose reuse instead of single use! Hire reusable servewear for your event or encourage event goers to BYO vessels, containers and utensils

    • Avoid giveaways and promotional material that will get discarded.

    • Know your recycling and share this info with vendors and event goers. When setting up your waste systems make sure you understand what can be recycled in our district. Only the following items can be recycled in our district:

    1. Glass bottles and jars

    2. Clean paper and cardboard

    3. Steel and aluminium cans

    4. #1 PET bottles (clear only)

    5. #2 HDPE bottles and container (clear and coloured)

    6. #5 PP bottles and container (clear and coloured)

    Top tips:

    Although some materials are recyclable, in practice they are often contaminated with leftover food, which makes recycling these items at events unviable. Encourage vendors and event goers to opt for BYO or reusable vessels and containers instead.

    DISHrupt is a great local initiative offered by Sustainable Queenstown, helping to rid events of disposable servewear. DISHrupting your event will not only reduce the amount of waste produced at the event but all donations will go back into making positive social and environmental impacts our community. Find out more at sustainablequeenstown.org.nz/dishrupt/

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  • Getting your bins right is an important step in managing your event waste. Key things to consider include:

    • What bins do you need? The materials coming into your event will determine the bins you require.

    • Always put bins together in ‘stations’ – e.g. if you are separating into 3 streams, a mixed recycling, glass and rubbish bin should be grouped together. A recycling bin on its own will end up with lots of rubbish, and a rubbish bin on its own will end up with lots of recycling in it – not a good result!

    • Where you put your bin stations matters. Make sure your bins are visible, accessible and located near food and eating areas; entrance and exit points; and close to crowded areas.

    Top tip: There are no commercial composting facilities in our district but if you can compost the food and packaging waste then consider a separate bin for this material.

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  • You can have the best system in the world but it won’t work unless you let people know how to use it properly. These things that make a big difference:

    • Good, clear signage - signs need to be clear with bold writing. Where possible, colour code your signs and bins and use symbols, pictures or physical examples that provide visual cues.

    • Promote zero waste - publicise your zero waste goals via promotional material, websites, social media, programmes and event day announcement.

    • Remind all vendors about your waste minimisation goals and what you require from them.

    • Staff the stations - clear signage doesn’t always prevent attendees from placing items in the wrong bins especially since there is often confusion about what can and cannot be recycled. The most effective way to ensure the right things end up in the right bins is to staff your bin stations.

    Top tip: New Zealand Recycling symbols & signage can be downloaded in PDF format for free from WasteMinz here: https://www.wasteminz.org.nz/pubs/ronz-symbols/

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  • It’s important to record data, gather feedback and share the results on how successful your efforts were. Doing this will help you publicise achievements and also aid you in planning your next event. Finally, you may consider documenting your event as a case study so you can pass your learnings on to others. Ways to capture your data include:

    • Tally bags or bins of rubbish and recycling to reveal how much of each has been generated.

    • Analyse your rubbish, estimate the waste types within, and determine how much could be recycled or reduced next time.

    • Ask your contractor for the data – they should be able to provide you with weights for each waste stream removed.

    • Conduct an audit to weigh and categorise waste before disposal.

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Contact us

If you need any advice for how to make your event zero waste contact councils Waste Minimisation Office, please email:

zerowaste@qldc.govt.nz


Supporting resources

  • Wanaka Wastebusters offer a service to manage all your event waste and minimise the amount that goes to landfill. They can provide all the infrastructure you’ll need, like bins, help with event plans, recommended packaging for suppliers, and diversion targets. Read more here: https://www.wastebusters.co.nz/events/

  • New Zealand Recycling symbols & signage can be downloaded in PDF format for free from WasteMinz here: https://www.wasteminz.org.nz/pubs/ronz-symbols/

  • DISHrupt is a great local initiative offered by Sustainable Queenstown, helping to rid events of disposable servewear. DISHrupting your event will not only reduce the amount of waste produced at the event but all donations will go back into making positive social and environmental impacts our community. Find out more at http://sustainablequeenstown.org.nz/dishrupt/

  • Beyond the Bin provide practical guidance for event waste minimisation via a series of short videos and templates: https://beyondthebin.org.nz/videos-for-event-organisers/

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