Waste Management

Recycling and Composting

Food and Beverage Packaging

Plastic Bag Ban

Waste Management 

Event organizers are required to provide adequate waste collection stations that include collection of recyclables, compostables, and trash. The number of stations required varies on the type of event, the size of the event area, the number of people expected to attend, and the activities at the event, like food service.  

Event organizers are responsible for managing and removing all recycling, compostables, and garbage within the area of their event, including public street cans and trash in nearby areas that is reasonably related to the event. Depending on the size of your event, you may want to contract with a vendor for collection service and/or bin rentals.  

Recycling and Composting 

Encouraging recycling and compostables collection at your event is not only good for the environment but also saves you money through lower garbage disposal costs. Recycling and compostables collection is required because it saves money on landfill costs and cuts down on energy and greenhouse gas use in manufacturing.  


The following items must be collected: cups, plastic bottles, plastic tubs, aluminum, cans, glass bottles, glass jars, and cardboard. Other recyclables include newspaper and paper event programs or schedules.  


It is required to compost food waste from all food prep areas and plate scrapings from staff areas. All food packaging including compostable plates, bowls, trays and tubs used to serve food must be collected for compost collection. Packaging containing food should be made of compostable material. For more information about packaging options see Cedar Grove's list of approved compostable items.  

Food and Beverage Packaging, Straw & Utensil Requirements

Seattle's recycling, composting, and food packaging law (Seattle Municipal Code 21.36.086) requires food service businesses - including food and beverage vendors at events - to use recyclable and compostable serviceware, including compostable straws and utensils, instead of Styrofoam or plastic serviceware that would need to be thrown in the garbage.  

Washington State's Recycling Law (RCW 70.93.093) requires beverage vendors at official gatherings and events to provide recycling for single-serving plastic, glass, and aluminum containers. Event organizers are also responsible for monitoring and servicing recycling bins during events, and for having the recycled items hauled to a recycling and disposal station.  

Download Event Recycling and Composting and Straw & Utensil Requirements fliers to share with your food vendors.

More information about food service recycling and composting is available online at Seattle Public Utilities - Food Packaging.

Plastic Bag Ban 

Seattle Municipal Code prohibits all Seattle retail stores from providing customers with single-use plastic carryout (shopping) bags, including those advertised as compostable, biodegradable, photodegradable or similar.  

Download Plastic Bag Ban flyer to share with your vendors.


List of vendors that provide event bins for sale, bin rentals, and collection services for recyclables and compostables

Special Events

Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 5752, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94708, Seattle, WA, 98124-4708
Phone: (206) 684-8017
Fax: (206) 684-7025

The City of Seattle plays a strong role in helping event planners bring people together safely and successfully in both city-wide and neighborhood events.