Zero Waste Events

NOTE: Zero Waste Event services have been suspended and are currently not being offered to event organizers. Please check this page for any future updates.

Organizing a special event in Philadelphia? Consider incorporating Zero Waste practices into your event planning. By taking actions to reduce your event’s waste, you will help Philadelphia move forward on its path toward becoming a more sustainable, Zero Waste city and can be recognized by the City for your efforts.

Large public events like festivals, parades, athletic events, and concerts attract and entertain Philadelphia’s visitors and residents, but these events also produce a significant amount of waste. Public events represent an opportunity to reduce waste while engaging both residents and some of Philadelphia’s 42 million annual visitors in the city’s Zero Waste efforts. The Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet hopes to make Philadelphia the “Home of Zero Waste Events.”

The Cabinet, in conjunction with the Office of Special Events, has modified the City’s Special Events Permit to include a recycling mandate as well as recommendations for voluntarily implementing Zero Waste practices. Apply for a Philadelphia Special Events Permit.

Download the Zero Waste Events Guide to learn about opportunities for diverting waste from events through various recycling, composting, and catering options.

As part of this program, the City is offering participating event organizers:

  1. Access to municipal compost pickups by the Streets Department

2. Access to source-separated waste bins and in some cases volunteers to educate event attendees and ensure that materials are sorted properly

3. Resources and support for identifying opportunities for waste reduction and diversion

Zero Waste Reporting for Events

Event organizers have the option to submit a digital form to report on their event’s waste management practices and waste diversion rate. When an event organizer implements Zero Waste practices in the event’s waste management operations, as documented through this online reporting system, the City will recognize the event as a Zero Waste Partner. Email for more information.

Zero Waste Event Partners

Events that register as Zero Waste Events and report their achieved waste diversion rate will become Zero Waste Event Partners! Events that achieve a waste diversion rate of 70% or more earn Silver Partner Status; 90% waste diversion or greater earns Gold Partner Status. Partnership status is earned for the full calendar year, and Partners renew or increase their status each year that the event takes place.

Look for the Zero Waste Partnership seals at Philly events!

2019 Partners

Blue Cross Broad Street Run, 5/5

2018 Partners


Blue Cross Broad Street Run, 5/6 – 52.51%

Kensington Derby and Arts Fest, 5/19 – 60.00%

Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Fest, 7/21 – 50.00%

Unity Cup Series, 8/3 – 55.10%

Unity Cup Series, 8/10 – 50.00%

Unity Cup Series, 8/17 – 42.98%

Parks & Recreation Department BBQ, 9/7 – 35.06%

Unity Cup Series, 9/8 – 40.00%

Unity Cup Series, 9/9 – 34.48%

Silver Partners

Pizzadelphia Pizza Fest, 6/14 – 76.22%

Gold Partners

Clean Air Council Run for Clean Air, 4/22 – 90.32% Waste Diversion Rate

Good Food for All Conference, 5/10 – 90.00%

No Data Reported:

Race Walking Championships, 4/7

Philadelphia Science Festival, 4/28

Penn Relays, 4/28

The Food Trust’s Night Market Kensington, 8/9

Taking Da Gospel 2 Da Streets, 8/25

Clean Air Council Greenfest Philly, 9/9

Unity Cup Series, 9/16

2017 Partners


Parks & Recreation Department BBQ, 9/8 – 66.27% Waste Diversion Rate

Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, 10/28 – 19%

Silver Partners

Philadelphia Marathon, 11/19 – 89.25%

Zero Waste Events Gallery


If you have a questions about Zero Waste Events, contact us at

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