Oakland Recycles - Your Recycling Team


Important information and resources for event organizers.

Information for Event Organizers

As of February 2023, the Economic and Workforce Development Department processes special event permit applications.  For more information, including special event permit applications, please visit: https://www.oaklandca.gov/services/apply-for-a-special-events-permit

Make a zero waste plan

Before the Event:

  • Sign up for service with a waste hauler. Landfill and compost service must be provided by the franchise hauler, Waste Management of Alameda County (WMAC). Recycle service can be provided through WMAC or a different company. See Open Market Recycle Service Providers.
  • Throughout the event footprint, provide waste stations for attendees with compost/recycle/landfill in triad. Ensure they are properly colored and labeled: green/compost, blue/recycle, and gray or black/landfill.
  • Print (in color) and laminate premade waste station signage (see Quick Links) or make your own.
  • Contract with an event greening company (see list) or train your volunteers in proper sorting and waste station monitoring. 
  • Notify vendors that they must sort waste generated within their booths. Events may provide compost/recycle/landfill containers with required colors/labels for booths, or vendors may bring their own.
  • Choose reusable foodware, utensils, and table coverings. Reusable beverage cups will be required for events with more than 500 attendees starting July 1, 2025. Learn more about the requirements here.
  • If using compostable foodware, choose BPI-certified compostable fiber-based products, free of high-priority toxic chemicals, such as PFAS. “Compostable” plastics or “bioplastics” are not allowed. 
  • Contact food recovery organizations to set up donation of surplus edible food.
  • Work with waste haulers to ensure you order sufficient trash, recycle, and compost service for your event.
  • Consider using hydration stations where guests can refill their water bottles or cups  to cut down on single-use waste.

At the Event:

  • Remind vendors to flatten all boxes to avoid overfilling recycle bins.
  • Make announcements to guests to remind them how to properly compost, recycle, and landfill their waste. 
  • Monitor your waste stations to ensure materials are ending up in the correct container and that containers are not overflowing. 

After the Event:

  • Ensure recyclables are tossed loose (unbagged) into the recycle bin: plastic bags are a prohibited contaminant and jam recycling machinery.
  • Ensure compostables are tossed loose (unbagged) into the compost bin or in untied, clear plastic bags only.   
  • Donate leftover edible food.

Are you planning an event at a rented City-owned facility?

Download the City of Oakland Facilities Rental brochure for requirements.

Additional Resources

Food Donation Resources

Search for a food recovery organization that matches your event needs here.

Reusable Foodware, Dishwashing Service, and Hydration Station Providers: 

Visit StopWaste’s list of companies providing reusables for events or Upstream’s Reuse Business Directory.