Event Recycling & Composting

On December 12, 2019, Mayor and Commission updated the Material Management Policy for all Athens-Clarke County Unified Government Buildings and Facilities and Public Spaces. All events sponsored or held by the Unified Government or permitted by the Unified Government through a special events permit must provide or arrange for recycling collection services. In addition, all events with two or more food and/or beverage vendors must use reusable, recyclable or compostable materials for any single-use items.

Exceptions Include:

  • Individually professionally pre-packaged food items (e.g., candy bars, popsicles, or bags of chips) 
  • Cups (and their accompanying lids) used for free-draining liquid beverages (e.g., water, soda, juice, beer) that are made from materials included on the Targeted Material List

Guidelines for 2 or more Food Vendors in Public Spaces

  • All vendors are required to use compostable or recyclable greenware, including but not limited to plates, bowls, cups, and flatware. 
  • All food vendors must fill out and submit to ACC a Special Event Food Vendor Application.  
  • Cups (and their accompanying lids) used for free-draining liquid beverages (e.g., water, soda, juice, beer) that are made from materials included on the Targeted Material List may be used in lieu of compostable cups and lids given that free-draining liquid beverage containers can effectively be recycled at large events as opposed to plastic plates, utensils, and other single-use materials or cups used with non-free-draining liquids that are typically not recyclable in these settings due to food contamination. 
  • Cups (and their accompanying lids) used for solid foods and/or more viscous fluids (e.g., frappes, milkshakes, soups, chili) must still be made of compostable single-use materials.

    A description of recyclable materials and compostable materials is available on our website accgov.com/recycle.

CompostablesCompostable Products

Compostable foodservice products are getting easier to find, and cheaper to purchase. Below is a short list of known local retailers; a brief internet search will turn up many more. Please be sure the selected products are BPI-certified as compostable. The following are sources to order greenwares: 

Call Joe Dunlop with any questions at 706-613-3501 ext. 7859.

Collection Containers

Zero Waste Event BinsThe Recycling Division offers event recycling and composting containers for no charge. Recycling bags are included at no charge but composting bags require a fee of $5 per bag. Event containers may be requested through our Zero Waste Kit online registration. If you require delivery of collection containers, they may be delivered for a $35 flat fee. Please request delivery by emailing recycle@accgov.com.


Successful zero waste events take planning, education, and proper execution. This guide will help you understand what materials should be used and which bin is the proper bin for disposal. Share this guide with your event planners and food vendors and then use the customizable signage to create signs for event to educate your guests.


The Recycling Division offers several resources to help your waste reduction program to be successful including:

  • Event recycling and composting training
  • List of online resources for purchasing compostable wares (see Compostable Products above)
  • Customizable signage for your bins

Please email recycle@accgov.com for training requests, customized signage, or information on compostable wares.

Solid Waste Services

The Solid Waste Department can assist you with the collection of your scrap materials during your event. We can provide collection containers as well as service them during your event. Please email recycle@accgov.com for more information.

Zero Waste Kits

As well as offering event recycling and composting bins, we also offer Zero Waste Kits. You can request a kit to include items such as reusable plates, wares, cups, napkins, and more for you to borrow for any event, in order to reduce the need for disposables and send less stuff to the landfill. Click here to submit a request for use of our recycling bins or reusable wares!