Event Recycling

Lincoln is a vibrant city with many community events ranging from neighborhood gatherings, to business events and community-wide festivals. By recycling at your event, you are telling participants that your organization is a good steward of the environment. It also helps the City attain its waste reduction and recycling goals.

We encourage recycling at all events no matter the size or scope. Use the resources here to learn about services available to event organizers to add recycling services and reduce the waste generated.

Recycling Container Lending Program

If you'd like to recycle at your next meeting, conference, benefit, festival or other special event, the Waste Diversion and Recycling Office will provide all the containers you'll need at no cost. The containers consist of four parts: frames, lids, stakes, and bags.

Base your need for recycling containers on the following:
one recycling station for every trash can,
one recycling station for every 200-300 people,
one recycling station located every 150 feet for an outdoor event,
the type of event,
the location,
the food and drink available,
the anticipated number of people and
the number of people available to change bags when they are full.
Single bag frame for cans and bottles (JPG, 52KB) Single bag frame for cans and bottles Single bag frame for paper (JPG, 44KB) Single bag frame for paper Two bag frame for cans/bottles and paper (JPG, 40KB) Two bag frame for cans/bottles and paper Three bag frame for cans/bottles, paper, and trash (JPG, 44KB) Three bag frame for cans/bottles, paper, and trash

For More Information

Contact the Waste Diversion and Recycling Office at recycle@lincoln.ne.gov or 402-441-8215.

To Get Started

All collected material is to be recycled through private recyclers before the containers are returned.

Setup Instructions

Informational Signs

For your convenience, signs are available to print and attach to the containers.

Related Information

The Nebraska Recycling Council also has containers available for organizations that wish to promote “zero waste.” Go to: nrcne.org/contract-services/zero-waste-events for more information.

Tips for a Green Event

Pre-Event Considerations

  • Incorporate "Green Thinking" in the planning process.
  • When working with an event planning agency or conference location, clarify your priorities.
  • Pick a location with as much natural light as possible.
  • Work with the facility to minimize energy use.
  • Invitations: pick avenues that get to many people, such as emails, website, social networking sites, and PSA's.
  • When necessary to use the mail, use postcards.
  • Offer online registration and information.
  • Rent and borrow items that you use infrequently.
  • Determine ways to generate the least amount of waste.
  • Choose a hotel that offers a linen reuse program and bulk dispensers for shampoos and soaps in guest suites.
  • If participants are coming from out of town, suggest off-site activities that are nature-based with minimal impact to the local environment.
Computer Utilize electronic invitations to reduce paper waste


  • People who recycle at home and at work look for recycling bins wherever they go.
  • Make recycling containers visually available.
  • The placement, number and signage are all important for success.
  • Placement next to the trash doubles the chance that the correct receptacle will be used.
  • General Guidelines: 1 recycling station for each 200 people; Waste and recycling station should be available every 150 feet.


  • Instead of printing handouts and proceedings, use CDs or flash drives to store meeting / conference information and distribute them to attendees or delegates.
  • Encourage presenters to send information to organizing committee so that it can also be put on the flash drive or to have a one-page handout with phone numbers and /or web addresses of materials.
  • When printed materials cannot be avoided, print on both sides of the paper.
  • When planning annual conventions, choose items that can be used more than once, such as badge holders and signs with non-event-specific verbiage.
  • A casual dress code ensures that clothing will not need to be dry cleaned or the temperature adjusted to accommodate suits.
  • Pick a location where public transportation is available and/or taxis can be shared.

Promotional Materials

  • Promotional materials should be appropriate and useful for the attendees.
  • Choose promotional materials that are durable and reusable.
  • Find charities that can use undistributed handouts, such as pencils and paper to schools or before and after school learning programs.
Pencils Leftover materials may be donated after the event


  • Design the menu around seasonally appropriate foods and locally produced foods.
  • Calculate and buy the amount of food needed.
  • Ask food vendors to use minimal packaging for their products.
  • Arrange beforehand to have unused food donated to a shelter or food distribution program.
  • Buy food packaged in containers of recycled content that can be recycled again.
  • Use dishes, glassware, silverware and cloth napkins rather than plastic and paper.
  • If using disposable food ware, use biodegradable, compostable or recyclable products.
  • Serve iced tap water (flavored with lemons, limes, cucumbers, or other in-season fruits or vegetables, or fresh herbs) instead of bottled water. Have pitchers or dispensers located in central areas as well as on meeting room tables.
  • Give participants reusable coffee mugs/cups at the start of the conference. Ask attendees to reuse any other glasses that they use during the day.
  • Use bulk dispensers for sugar, salt, pepper, cream and other condiments.
  • Arrange beforehand for the disposal of food waste: donation to a shelter or food distribution program, a compost bin, or ship to a local farm for livestock feed.


  • Decorate with seasonally appropriate natural items. (Thematic decorations are more apt to end up in the landfill.)
  • Incorporate something useful that coordinates with purpose/theme of event for door prizes and/or centerpieces: tickets to a play, concert or sports event, a year's pass to the state parks or museums, lessons or classes, gift cards to locally owned businesses.
  • Use items twice: Door prizes first used as centerpieces, a food or beverage offering as the centerpiece, personal bouquets as centerpieces for a reception.

Related Links