Guidance for Recycling at Special Events

Event organizers are required to collect Recyclable Materials and Trash separately,

per Falmouth Select Board.

Recyclable & Waste Ban items generated at special events must be separated from trash and diverted from disposal or incineration. These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Glass, Metal, and Plastic Containers (including bottles, cans, jars, jugs, cooking/serving trays) 
  • Paper & Cardboard 
  • Textiles (including clothing, banners, tablecloths)
  • Food Waste*

Event hosts should plan for recyclable materials to be collected separately from trash; before, during, and after their event. Separate and well-labeled collection containers should be provided by the host for staff, volunteers, and guests to properly dispose of waste generated by the event. NOTE: Town containers and removal of event-generated materials will only be provided for Town-sponsored events.

* Diversion of Food Waste is required by State law for events generating 1/2 Ton or more food scraps per week.

See additional materials below for details and guidance.

For more information about Falmouth's Mandatory Recycling Regulations see: 

Instructions and Signage for Event Organizers

Special Events- Recycling Instructions

Download PDF for detailed instructions.

Event Sign- Trash Receptacle

Trash must be collected separately from Recycling. Event organizers must provide clearly marked containers for each.

Event Sign- Recycling Receptacle

Recycling must be collected separately from Trash. Event organizers must provide clearly marked containers for each.

Trash and Recycling container stickers are available to residents, free of charge, at Falmouth DPW Headquarters at 416 Gifford Street, M-F 7:30 am - 3:30 pm.

5 Tips for Reducing Waste at Special Events:

  1. Plan Ahead for Waste Reduction:Plan your menu and decorations to create less waste and allow for easy sorting and recycling. Remember to include recycling requirements in all vendor contracts. Hire event managers, vendors, and caterers familiar with serving green or zero-waste events. 
    1. Specialized Materials such as mylar heat blankets can often be re-used or recycled. Research the options well ahead of the event date and find a recycling or re-use program or donation outlet to take bulky, specialized, or other “non-curbside” recyclable materials.
  2. Purchase in Bulk: Buy supplies and food in bulk-sized containers or packaged in recyclable materials. Choose products with minimal or no packaging when possible. Ask caterers and food vendors to use returnable serving trays when possible. Aluminum baking trays are re-usable and recyclable.
  3. Plan to Reduce Food Waste: Have a plan ready for distribution or donation of leftover unserved food to a local charity or food pantry. Consider providing containers for leftovers to guests, staff, or volunteers. Some caterers may offer to plan food donation or distribution for events.
  4. Education: 
    1. Event Staff: Designate a recycling/waste coordinator or “Green Team” leader to plan the sorting, separation, and final destination of all materials generated by your event. This person needs to be aware of all supplies procured for the event. Train every volunteer and event staff member how to reduce waste and recycle properly.
    2. Guests: Promote your waste reduction goals to your guests and participants and ask for their support in achieving a low or zero-waste event. Providing well-marked collection receptacles will help them properly dispose of waste. Celebrate your shared success by announcing how much waste was diverted from the landfill in post-event communications.
  5. Collection:Always place well-marked, color-coded collection receptacles in groups adjacent to one another, i.e. Recycling (Blue), Trash (Black or Gray), and Compost (Green). If a solitary container is available, it will be filled with every category of waste, which due to cross-contamination will all become trash. Plan to set-up a staging area, away from guests, where bagged waste materials will be gathered and inspected prior to removal.
    1. Clear plastic bags should be used for Recycling (if a liner is needed) so that contents are visible.
    2. Black plastic bags should be used only for Trash. 
    3. Green compostable or Brown paper bags should be used for Compost.