Waste Management

Large quantities of waste materials will be generated by the concessionaires and the audience at most music events. Waste needs to be managed carefully to minimise the risks associated with its accumulation, collection and final disposal.

Types of waste

Types of waste generated include the following

  • paper and cardboard packaging
  • food and drink containers
  • left-over food debris
  • glass
  • plastics
  • metal cans
  • remains of camp fires
  • fireworks and pyrotechnics
  • waste food from food concessions
  • other metal waste, eg construction materials
  • human waste products (vomit, urine and faeces, sanitary towels and tampons often placed in miscellaneous containers)
  • medical waste such as needles and bandages
  • clothing
  • waste water from toilets showers and hand-washing basins


Hazards posed by waste include the following

  • injury to workers during collection and removal of waste from the site. Examples include cuts and grazes, needle stick injuries back strains due to manual handling difficulties and possible infection
  • accumulations of waste, blocking emergency access routes or hampering movement around
  • the site as well as presenting tripping hazards to the audience
  • fire hazards when waste is accidentally or purposely ignited
  • the misuse of waste by the audience, eg throwing bottles, cans, etc
  • vehicle movements associated with the collection of waste materials
  • waste attracting insects and vermin.

Areas where waste is generated

Waste and the type of waste products will not be generated evenly across the venue or site. The build -up of waste will vary in different areas over time. A competent waste contractor will therefore need to manage their workers and equipment to ensure that there are suitable and adequate resources directed to the most appropriate areas at the most appropriate times. Each area of the venue or site may need to be managed differently. Pay special attention to following areas

  • entrances and exits
  • arenas and stages
  • sanitary areas
  • catering areas
  • camping area.
  • approaches to music event, ie surrounding streets or land
  • first -aid areas and health -care waste

Methods of collection

The collection of waste from the site or arena usually involves a combination of the following

  • contractors’ workers specifically trained to pick the waste up (litter pickers), and/or empty the receptacles placed around the site or venue
  • the use of sweeper vehicles
  • vacuum suction vehicles
  • vacuum tankers for collection of waste water temporarily held in smaller tanks
  • other vehicles, trailers and towing vehicles.

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