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What is a Wastewise Event?

A wastewise event is one that takes responsibility for Waste Management by adopting sound purchasing and packaging policies, waste and recycling collection services and clean up practices.

Events are great for promoting community spirit and boosting local economies, yet thousands of tonnes of rubbish are generated as a result of events in the Northern Rivers each year. This waste represents a loss of resources. Up to 60 per cent of waste can be recovered at events by introducing recycling.


Tweed Shire Council can provide wastewise bins to small - medium sized (less than 1000 participants), not-for-profit wastewise events. To apply, fill in the application form Waste Wise Management Plan for Special Events (106kB PDF) and a member from the Waste Management Unit will get back to you regarding wastewise bin availability. Your application should be forwarded to Council a minimum of four weeks prior to your event.

What's available?
  • six 240 L Red lid GARBAGE bins*, with signage to show what is accepted in this type of bin
  • six 240 L Yellow lid RECYCLING bins*, with signage to show what is accepted in the recycling bin
  • free drop off, collection and servicing of these bins
  • advice on waste minimisation and avoidance strategies
* These bins must be placed in sets - one recycling and one garbage side by side to ensure event participants have the opportunity to decide which bin to place their waste in. (See information below on minimising contamination).

Events which dont meet the criteria are encouraged to contact their waste provider and discuss wastewise bin supply and disposal options.

Contact Council’s Waste Management Unit on 02 6670 2400 for more information.


It is important to start the Waste Wise Event Planning in the initial stages of your event planning. Waste avoidance and recycling objectives can be incorporated into each step of the planning process.

Why hold a Wastewise Event?

  • Provides savings in disposal and production costs
  • Creates a positive image for your event
  • Reduces litter at your event
  • Conserves resources
  • Reduces environmental impacts
  • Changes behaviour by changing purchasing and consumption patterns
  • Conserves the environment for present and future generations

How to run a wastewise event

Tips and information on how to plan and run a wastewise event can be found at North East Waste or NSW EPA wastewise events

Wastewise event bin station set up

Tweed currently has no capacity to compost food waste or compostable plates, cutlery and cups. The main waste diversion mechanism is through recycling so it is preferable for stallholders to aim to supply re-useable or recyclable items, unless they are able to organise an outlet to take their compostable waste. View Council's Bin System Brochure (1.93mB PDF) for more information on what can and cannot be placed into each bin.

Case Studies

Check out what other events in your region have achieved:
2012 - Foodie Friday (899kB PDF)
2010 - Unity Festival (862kB PDF)
2009 - Tweed River Festival (131kB PDF)
2009 - Repco Rally Australia (178kB PDF)
2008 - Tweed Jockey Club (120kB PDF)


The majority of waste generated at events is from catering. Early communication with stallholders can help avoid unnecessary packaging, like polystyrene and reduce the waste generated. Event organisers should consider developing Stallholder Guidelines (95kB PDF) that clearly outline what packaging requirements are acceptable and unacceptable at your event.

If you are thinking of diverting your food waste from landfill, this brochure: Recycling Organics (100kB PDF) , provides some advice and options that are possible for events.

Minimising contamination

Contamination must be kept to a minimum (generally less than 10 per cent by volume) in the recycling bins or it cannot be recovered and will have to go to landfill instead.

Common contaminants of recycling bins are:
  • Non-recyclable plastics e.g. plastic bags and wrap, straws, polystyrene food packaging;
  • Food organics and food contaminated paper.
A good bin strategy is the key to successful recycling and minimum contamination. An effective bin plan ensures that:
  • Bins are kept in pairs of one recycling with one garbage. The excitement and commotion of an event causes people to take the easy option and use the closest bin. By keeping your bins in pairs they are able to select the correct bin and view signage for both bins. This helps reduce contamination.
  • Bins are positioned no more than 15m apart and are visible from the next one
  • As a general rule, place bins near entry / exit points, close to toilets/facilities and/or at intersections
  • Place more bins in areas where food is likely to be consumed and purchased
  • Consider access needs of children, people with disabilities, service providers and collection
  • Empty bins before they are full to discourage people from using the wrong bin or overfilling which can lead to rubbish spilling out on the ground
  • The site is clean and tidy as a clean site encourages correct bin use
  • Have a waste manager or volunteer to co-ordinate emptying and checking bins. Volunteers can also be used as bin monitors, to be in close vicinity of the bins and ensure people are using them correctly or provide any direction as required.


Promoting recycling at your event is important to the success of your recovery. A multi-levelled approach to delivering the message is best. Use this Advertisement (307kB PDF) in your brochures, program or web page and communicate a recycling message on the PA system at regular intervals during the event. Write a media release that highlights your recycling initiatives.

Further Information

Contact Council on (02) 6670 2400
Last Updated: 03 February 2017