News | 17 January 2023

Waste not want not at summer events

Wellingtonians love to get out and enjoy the many events that take place across our vibrant capital over the summer.

Group of people enjoying a picnic.

As climate-conscious communities, we are becoming more aware of the waste these events can generate. Here are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce this waste and ensure we look after our taiao while out having fun this summer.

Bring your own

Events often have amazing food and drinks to try, but these delights are usually served in single-use packaging. Whether disposable, recyclable or compostable, energy and resources are used to produce and transport this packaging. To save resources and avoid waste, take a zero waste kete when you head out. Some items you could include:

  • spork – or cutlery, chopsticks and reusable straw from your kitchen drawer
  • container for takeaway food – an ice cream container works, or you might like something fancier like a collapsible bowl
  • reusable coffee cup – use this for cold drinks as well, like bubble tea and smoothies
  • drink bottle – bigger events often have water refill stations to fill up for free
  • bag – to put your kit in and to stash any treasures you might find along the way.

Don’t be shy to use your reusables. Vendors love them because they save on packaging and event organisers welcome them because they save money on waste disposal and sorting, and it helps normalise climate-friendly behaviour.

Reusables on a picnic blanket.

What about event organisers?

When organising an event, from a school fair to a street festival, it’s amazing the impact you can have by planning early and setting up a few simple systems:

  • encourage event attendees to bring their own reusables
  • encourage vendors and stall holders to accept and use reusable cups and containers, and sell food in edible packaging, such as ice cream cones
  • avoid giveaways like balloons and offer alternative fun activities like face painting, rides and games instead of selling ‘things’
  • set up a wash station for reusable serviceware, or hire cups, plates and cutlery from Newtown Community and Cultural Centre or find your own set at the Tip Shop
  • if you can’t avoid single use, use compostable packaging which is accepted at Capital Compost and arrange an organics collection, so it doesn’t go to landfill.

Ways the Council can help you:

  • borrow our free bins and hoods to separate out recyclables
  • apply to our waste minimisation seed fund for help setting up a waste-reducing initiative

Find more advice and some handy guides about reducing waste at your events.