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The bigger the party, the better, right? Maybe, but it’s just as important to keep in mind that as your party grows in scale, so will the amount of waste it generates. And once the party’s over, you’ll have to face the music. 

That’s why when you’re planning your event, you should consider what happens after just as much as what happens before. Here’s how to estimate the amount of waste your event might generate—and how to properly dispose of it. 

Picture of a large crowd in North Carolina for the blog about event waste management services.

What is the Average Amount of Event Waste Generated?

Every event is different, but the most commonly-known rule of thumb states that you can expect around one pound of waste per person per meal. This same rule assumes that the majority of event waste comes from food (more on that later). 

If you’re looking for a go-to formula, here’s one to lean on when planning: (The number of attendees) x (The number of meals) = (Estimated number of pounds of waste). 

Say you have a day-long event that will include both breakfast and lunch, and which will be attended by 30 people. You would plug those numbers into the equation to get: 30 (attendees) x 2 (meals) = 60 pounds of waste. 

You can also adjust this formula to reflect the size of the meals. If you’re planning on serving a light meal or only hors d’oeuvres, you might multiply by .5 rather than one. 

Where Does Most Event Waste Come From

Events can be simple or elaborate, but each and every single one is going to produce some waste. What are the main culprits of that waste? Let’s take a look:


As we mentioned, food is usually the main source of event waste. According to Skift Meetings, food waste comprises a minimum of 20% of an event waste stream, and as much as 60%.  

Food Packaging and Serving Tools

If you’re serving food at your event, chances are you’ll also need something to serve that food on and with. The plastic cutlery, paper plates and napkins, and packaging can add up quickly. 

Coffee Cups

You might be wondering if coffee cups are really deserving of their own category here, and the answer is a resounding yes. According to Conservationmadesimple.org, around 2.5 billion coffee cups are tossed each year, ending up in landfills where they can take up to 500 years to fully decompose. Plus, those cups are often made from nonrenewable resources, so when they are disposed of they can release harmful greenhouse gasses back into the atmosphere.

If you can avoid using paper and plastic coffee cups at your party, please do! If you have to use them, make sure they are being disposed of with the right recycling processes to reduce environmental impact.  

Banners and Other Decor

Decorating for a party can be almost as much fun as the party itself. While you can still go all out with the banners, streamers, balloons, and signage, keep in mind that when you’re wrapping up you’ll need to take special care to dispose of them. 

Vinyl banners, for instance, will need to be recycled at special take-back programs, and they often won’t be properly disposed of by venues themselves.

How to Reduce Event Waste

Because there are so many moving parts at work when planning a community event, reducing event waste can seem like too broad a problem to tackle. However, with the right planning upfront, you’ll find that cutting back on waste in nearly every aspect of your event is easier than you think. 

  • Reuse banners and decor rather than throwing them away or taking them to recycling. 
  • Opt for digital signage where you can, to cut down on paper and plastic use.
  • Look for caterers and event planners who already have food waste management strategies.
  • Work with your caterer and planner to prevent over-ordering.
  • Use compostable and biodegradable serviceware and packaging. 
  • Offer reusable souvenir cups for beverages.
  • Make sure recycling containers are accessible, clearly labeled, and distributed throughout the venue.

Easy Event Waste Management 

No matter how much planning you do before your event to reduce waste, you will still have some trash at the event itself to deal with. For that, Wall Recycling has a few options that can make cleaning up and managing event waste simpler and far less time consuming than ever before.

Dumpster Rental

Renting roll-off dumpsters for your event is the most convenient event waste option around. These are designed to hold large quantities and can be quickly rolled off of the delivery truck for drop-off, and back on when it’s time for pick-up. 

Before your event, give us a call to discuss the best size and quantity for your needs. Then, we drop off your roll-off dumpster for as long as you need it at your venue. When you’re ready, Wall Recycling picks the full dumpster or dumpsters back up, taking them back to our facility to dispose of the contents responsibly and taking a huge weight off of your shoulders.

Porta Potty Rental

If your venue won’t have easily accessible restrooms, or if you think you may need more for your guests, Wall Recycling also offers Porta Potty rentals. These can be scheduled for drop off at the same time as your dumpster, and picked up and hauled away as soon as the event has ended, so you don’t have to do any of the dirty work and your guests can stay comfortable and clean. 

Call Wall Recycling for Event Waste Management Services in North Carolina 

The party-planning list seems to go on forever when you’re in the months or weeks leading up to a big event. Once it’s all been said and done, you’ll be thanking yourself for looking ahead to make quick and responsible clean up a breeze with the right tools and partners. 

For residents and businesses in  Wilmington, Raleigh and beyond, Wall Recycling makes looking ahead simple with both porta potty rentals and dumpster rentals.

Give us a call today to learn more about how Wall Recycling makes hosting an event, and accommodating event waste management, easier!