Solid Waste & Recycling

Blog

Companies need to be accountable for event waste management

If there are waste guidelines that private companies need to follow for a special event, it’s pretty clear that they aren’t often enforced. Perhaps it’s a cost issue, but a company, especially such a large one, shouldn’t have the freedom to do as it pleases when it comes to event waste. Pretty basic stuff.


stinky-tofu-vendorsPublic events can be fun, but they’re damn messy.

I spent Friday night at an absolutely jam-packed Asian night market hosted by T&T Supermarket in Toronto. It was jam-packed — thousands of people wandering around with half-eaten battered squid tentacles and single-bite oddities like Smelly Tofu, designed to smell like a garbage dump, except that you actually eat it. True story.

Food festivals make for a lot of people scouting around for garbage cans, or in my delusional case, recycling and compost bins. (Ya right, Dave! Where do you think you live? San Francisco? Well, no, but I don’t think Toronto has to be so far behind. Do you?)

What I ended up seeing Friday night was extraordinary amounts of organics mixed with metals, and plastics mixed with liquid beverages. Kind of a waste free-for-all — just toss it in the bin and lid it.

What year is it again? Do I not live in a major metropolitan city, one of the top five in North America? Just checking.

When an organization or company hosts an event, there are certain hoops to jump through— permits and the like. If it’s considered a “street event,” meaning it’s literally taking place on the streets and sidewalks of a local neighbourhood, a waste management plan is mandatory. Check out Toronto’s Special Events Waste Diversion Handbook here.

But if the event is on private property, it seems to be up to the event host to deal responsibly, or not, with the event’s waste management. Very often, this just means a lot of garbage bags and garbage cans. Maybe some good old-fashioned dumping too? Everybody, of course, is more concerned with the event running smoothly: Do the mics work? Are the rides safe? Port-a-Potties ready? It’s hard to give waste the time it deserves. It’s not exactly fun. Maybe it’s even a little gross.

If there are waste guidelines that private companies need to follow for a special event, it’s pretty clear that they aren’t often enforced. Perhaps it’s a cost issue, but a company, especially such a large one, shouldn’t have the freedom to do as it pleases when it comes to event waste. Pretty basic stuff.

For a world that needs to tackle climate change, you would think we’d have this rather simple stuff sorted out by now. But hey, there are laws against texting and driving too, and few people seem to think that’s much of real concern either.


Print this page

Related Posts



Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*