Zero Waste Events

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.

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

Access to municipal compost pickups by the Streets Department

Resources for identifying opportunities for waste reduction and diversion

Access to the Philacycle Program, which provides source-separated waste bins and volunteers to educate event attendees and ensure that materials are sorted properly

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

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.


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

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