• Contact Us
  • Business News

Sustainable Events Guide

Recreation and Community
Sustainable Events Guide

The City encourages sustainability in all events in Canning, including City and community led events. There are many easy ways to incorporate best practice sustainability into events, including water, energy and waste reduction and transport.

The City aspires to achieving or exceeding minimum sustainability standards for all events run in the City of Canning. We ask that if you’re hoping to run a community event of any size or style, that you help us to achieve these aspirations.

The very first thing to do as an event producer is to familiarise yourself with the City’s Event Planning Guide, which will give you all of the information you’ll need to complete an event application. This applies to any event catering to 200+ people.

Use our guideline and download our simple sustainable event checklist to help you achieve your sustainable event goals!

First things first - if you make sustainable decisions in the planning stage of your event, you’re far more likely to have sustainable outcomes when running your event.

Tips for planning a sustainable event include:

  • Use a shared software or website for all your event collaborators to view and access important documents to minimise printing and paper waste (e.g. Dropbox, Google Docs, Slack or Trello).
  • Carpool to your event site and meetings, or host them online.
  • Recycle any packaging and paper.
  • Set up an evaluation system for your event and outline the outcomes you want to measure / track.
  • Research your products, services and venue options carefully.

Water is one of the most delicate natural resources we have. There are a range of strategies that you can put in place to prevent water wastage at events.

Tips for reducing water wastage and contamination at events include:

  • Turn off water taps whenever not in use or not needed.
  • Hire water wise toilet facilities (timer taps, composting toilets, waterless urinals, etc.).
  • Use environmentally safe cleaning products and services to prevent contamination.
  • Ensure that no waste water is discharged from hire equipment into drains or outdoor event sites.
  • Provide signs encouraging patrons to conserve water.
  • Provide free water stations for patrons and encourage them to bring reusable bottles.

If you can prevent waste being created then the task and cost of waste management and disposal becomes easier. This is also an area where you can save money by avoiding the purchase of unnecessary disposable items.

Tips to prevent the creation of waste include:

  • Do not provide disposable plastic shopping bags (of any thickness), utensils (straws, stirrers and cutlery) or foodware (plates, bowls and container), and expanded polystyrene foodware (food containers and trays). This may involve working with food vendors to identify alternatives. Learn more about banned items at WA Plastic Ban.
  • Aim to use up-cycled, recycled and reusable materials where they are available.
  • Promote the event to patrons and participants as a low-waste or plastic-free event.
  • Provide free water stations and encourage patrons to bring reusable water bottles.
  • Do not give away or release balloons. Ensure any vendors or stallholders are aware of this requirement.
  • If considering fireworks at your event, investigate other options such as a laser light displays to reduce waste, pollution and environmental impacts.
  • Avoid creating gift packs or conference bags.
  • Minimise printed marketing materials – instead opt for online marketing where effective.
  • Ensure all event suppliers understand that your event is waste and/or plastic free.

Less waste goes to landfill if compostable, recyclable and reusable items are separated and managed properly. Low waste events also reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gas emissions being released into our environment.

Tips to ensure responsible management and disposal of waste include:

  • Ensure there are adequate recycling and general waste bins around your event. The City of Canning can hire out event bins on request.
  • If significant volumes of food waste are being created, consider composting options. The City can provide advice to help you to manage this waste stream.
  • Clearly label bins indicating which ones can be used for compostable / organic waste, general waste and recyclable waste.
  • Source volunteers or staff to actively monitor bin stations and help event patrons properly separate waste.
  • Make sure the waste contractor who is responsible for disposal of your event waste is aware of your waste disposal requirements.
  • Collect any litter as soon as possible to prevent windblown litter escaping the event site.

Create a comprehensive list of the products and services that you will need for your event at planning stage. This will help you make good procurement choices and avoid unnecessary costs.

Tips to help you with your smart and sustainable purchasing include:

  • Consider hiring, borrowing or reusing as first options.
  • Use sustainable packaging that can be recycled or is compostable.
  • Do not use harmful or flammable chemicals.
  • Consider verifiable eco-labels and certified products and services.
  • Use environmentally friendly companies and caterers.
  • If printed material is required, opt for recycled paper and vegetable based inks.
  • Consider using local suppliers with knowledge of the City to support your local economy and reduce your carbon miles.
  • Consider using social enterprises, Disability Enterprises and Indigenous businesses to provide products and services to your event.

Energy and be both financially and environmental costly. When planning your event, consider options for minimising the amount of energy consumed.

Tips to help you create an energy and emissions efficient event include:

  • Minimise the use of electrical equipment.
  • Choose energy efficient sound, lighting and technical equipment options where possible (solar lights, biogas generators etc.).
  • Encourage public or active transport for patrons.
  • Consider limiting air conditioning during the set up and pack down of the event, by using natural ventilation where possible.
  • Consider sustainable decorations (hired, solar, energy efficient, recycled etc.).
  • Calculate carbon emissions produced by the event and offset through an accredited offsets provider (a carbon calculator can help you to complete your estimate).
  • Purchase 100% renewable energy for your event if possible.

Items, patrons and performers need transport to and from events, but it is possible to reduce emissions and fuel use.

Tips to help you your event patrons, producers and performers travel smarter include:

  • Walk or ride to and from the office and event site.
  • Plan your journey by public transport.
  • Supply bike racks and create clearly designated sustainable transport areas.
  • Communicate sustainable transport options and develop incentives or marketing campaigns for patrons who walk, cycle, use public transport or carpool.
  • Create designated parking on event grounds to facilitate the number of people attending the event.
  • Consider purchasing carbon neutral ticket options for flights for event speakers / performers and attendees.
  • If your event is ticketed, consider offering an additional ‘offset’ ticket price that donates part-proceeds to a carbon offsetting project (i.e. Carbon Positive).
  • Consider working with suppliers who have a carbon neutral or sustainability policy.

A major benefit of running a sustainable event is being able to promote your sustainable behaviours to the public. You can promote yourself as a responsible corporate citizen and raise awareness of positive sustainability messages in the community.

Tips to help you communicate your sustainability aspirations include:

  • Actively promote your sustainability initiatives to patrons prior, during and after the event.
  • Encourage patrons to engage in your sustainability initiatives by bringing their own cups, water bottles and food containers, recycling their waste and taking sustainable transport to and from events.
  • Remember to communicate and celebrate your achievements. Use social media, announcements, emails and websites.
  • Use event signage to bring attention to your initiatives.
  • Use your sustainability initiatives to strengthen grant applications.
  • Apply for A Greener Festival award.

Evaluating your event can be critical for improving future events and ensuring your sustainability practices are effective.

Tips to help you evaluate your sustainability achievements include:

  • Review cost and consumption information for water, energy / emissions, waste and transportation where possible.
  • Record volumes for waste and recycling where possible.
  • Determine whether adequate bins were provided or whether more / fewer bins would be required for your next (similar) event.
  • Consider other measures you might take to improve outcomes for your next event.
  • Use online evaluation forms and surveys to reduce paper waste.

The international standard in event sustainability outlines a range of management and policy approaches you must apply if you wish to have your business or event officially certified for sustainable event management.

It is a rigorous process and requires external auditing, and the City would only suggest undertaking it if you have sufficient resources and manage major events (over 1000 attendees) as part of your core business.

Read the Guide to ISO 20121 to learn more.

For more information, or support in planning your sustainable event, please contact the Sustainability Team at sustainability@canning.wa.gov.au.

For more information on applying to host an event in the City of Canning, please contact the Events Team at events@canning.wa.gov.au.

E-ticketing is efficient and automated, saving paper and postage.

Was this page helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!