Photograph showing three Busch bins outside a venue with red arena seats in the background

Building a successful venue waste management program can be quite complex – and fitting a strong program into your already jam-packed day-to-day operations may make your head spin! But trust us, the rewards of striving toward Zero Waste are plentiful. That’s why we’ve compiled the 10 best resources to help you implement a successful & sustainable waste & recycling program for your large venue or sports stadium.

We’re here to help you learn how to run a spectacular recycling & waste management program at your venue. From standardizing your program, to adding more recycling stations, to reducing contamination – and all the moving parts in between – this list of resources will get you grounded and rolling along with lots of support in no time!


1. Green Sports Alliance [Association] 

If you’re in venue management and looking to move towards more sustainable practices, then this is the place to be! The Green Sports Alliance is a champion for all things ‘Green’ at your stadium, including recycling. This association will give you access to a community of people trying to achieve the same goals, as well as all the latest how-to’s & green-initiatives info. A number of sustainability-related resources can be found on the bottom half of their Press page – here are a few direct links to the recycling and zero-waste-focused ones that stand out to us:

2. Sustainable Event Standards 

Not all eco-efforts are the same. The Events Industry Council (EIC) has developed a series of standards for certifying sustainability programs, including recycling and waste reduction systems, for stadiums and other venues. These standards can help you set goals, and give you examples of initiatives to draw from when developing your own waste reduction programs.

3. Planning for Success: Tips For Designing Public Space Recycling Programs 

Though not specific to large venues, these bestpractices from Keep America Beautiful will give you a great primer on how to select waste bins to encourage your patrons & staff to recycleAfter all, if your venue is going to have a recycling program, you want to make sure people use it! And as a bonus fun fact, this guide was penned by our own Senior Advisor (and “Advancing Recycling” blog series writer) Alec Cooley.

4. US EPA: Sustainable Materials Management [Toolkit] 

Sustainable materials management (SMM) is a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycles. It represents a change in how our society thinks about the use of natural resources and environmental protection. By looking at a product’s entire life cycle, we can find new opportunities to reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources and reduce costs.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) produced this toolkit that includes a basic primer about SMM, the underlying principles, and resources your organization can use to adopt this approach. Among others, those resources include measuring tools like the ‘WARM model’ used to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions (and savings) associated with your waste and recycling program.

5. A Guide to Recycling at Sports Venues [pdf] 

In addition to conserving natural resources, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing impacts on the environment, recycling can have economic benefits. Depending on local waste disposal recycling market conditions, recycling can lead to a reduction in solid waste management costs from properly diverting and recycling commodities such as cardboard, paper, and aluminum. Check out this PDF for the many documented benefits of recycling at sports venues!

6. Achieving Sustainability beyond Zero Waste: A Case Study from a College Football Stadium 

Collegiate sporting venues have been leading efforts toward zero-waste events in pursuit of more sustainable operations. This study audited the landfill-destined waste generated at the University of Missouri (MU) football stadium in 2014 and evaluated the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) and energy use associated with waste management options, including options that do and do not comply with zero-waste definitions.

7. University of Southern California 2020 RecycleMania Case Study 

In 2020, USC rolled out a pilot “Zero Waste Green Game” at its Galen Center venue as an expansion of their season-long Zero Waste (ZW) Initiative and Green Game held every year since 2015 in their other venue, the LA Coliseum. This resulted in a ZW sports campaign that took place across two separate sporting venues, and established partnerships with numerous University entities. In the end, their efforts resulted in the achievement of Zero Waste for the pilot SC Trojans Basketball game, and seasonal Zero Waste for their SC Trojans/NFL Rams Football season – and they documented all their findings and results in the case study linked above! 

8. Venue Recycling in the U.S.A. [pdf]  

A Report on the Potential Recovery of Beverage Containers at Venues and Events.

Prepared by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) in cooperation with The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), and funded by a Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

9. How to Involve Concessionaires & Vendors in Your Recycling Program [pdf] 

This fact sheet is written for operations managers, recycling and event coordinators, and other key decisionmakers involved in managing public venues and events. Use this PDF to dig deeper into the key role concessionaires, vendors, and exhibitors will play in your venue’s recycling & waste prevention plans!

10. Recycling at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium Case Study 

With a 13-year-old recycling program, The Pennsylvania State University’s (Penn State) Beaver Stadium had diverted nearly 30 tons of recyclables per year from local landfills. A new initiative to promote recycling in the stadium’s tailgating area has helped Penn State more than triple this old recycling record, collecting 112 tons in 2008. And here’s one last cool tidbit for you to consider when planning your large venue recycling systems – Penn State donates the proceeds from the sale of the recyclables they collect to their local United Way (contributing more than $54,000 up to the date of publishing this case study)


And there you have it! Our top 10 resources to help get you & your venue started on a journey to sustainable waste management.

Ready to get started? Busch Systems is here to help you find your next step! We are offering a free live webinar – specifically for large venues and stadiums – streaming on June 24th @ 2PM EDT (register and learn more at this link), and are always here to answer your questions!

Remember, if you know of other resources that can help your fellow venue managers, we want to hear from you! Please comment or leave any links below to add to our list.