Material Management Checklist for Plastic Free Events in Breckenridge
Updated: Apr 27
Photo Credit Elaine Collins
On March 28, 2023, the Breckenridge Town Council took a major step toward its material management goals with the passage of Ordinance 12-23 that phases out certain single-use plastics from food serviceware and beverage containers. Beginning May 4, 2023, all events permitted through the Special Event Permit Application (SEPA) will be required to comply with new regulations prohibiting single use plastic serviceware and single use plastic water bottles.
This article will provide event producers with the tools and checklist to launch a compliant zero waste event in Breckenridge.
Local regulations that pertain to events in Breckenridge
Ordinance 15-21 - Special Events
Ordinance 12-23 - Plastic Pollution Reduction
The SustainableBreck Plan (2022) has a material management goal to reduce materials going to the landfill by reducing waste at the source and increase the portion of waste that is diverted through recycling and composting.
Policy Strategy: Phase out certain single-use plastics by 2024.
Special Event Permit - Material Management Requirements
Material Management Plan
All events are required adhere to the plastic pollution reduction requirements and should submit a plan describing purchasing event inventory around waste prevention.
For Tier 2-3 events ONLY, a complete plan including a site map with waste and recycling stations is required. The plan should also identify your waste haulers, zero waste specialists, and post-event diversion reporting. If food is being served, composting service is required.
Events must provide sufficient recycling, composting and trash (landfill) service for the activities listed. If the event has glass, an additional glass service is required. *Glass is not accepted in single-stream recycling.* For Tier 0-1 events, existing town service is acceptable.
For Tier 2-3, additional service will be required by the event producer and should be outlined in the material management plan. A zero waste specialist is also required.
Zero Waste Specialists/Event Consulting
VERT Sites - firstname.lastname@example.org
Minimal Impact - email@example.com
Timberline - www.timberlinedisposal.com
Licensed Waste Haulers/Dumpster Service
WM - www.wm.com/us/en/location/co/breckenridge
Timberline - www.timberlinedisposal.com
Summit Roll Offs - www.summitrolloffs.com
Waste and Recycling Containers
All supplemental public facing containers for waste disposal must include both a trash and recycling option. If food is being served, compost is also required. If glass is being served, glass is also required even if only "back of house" for vendors.
All containers should be labeled with local single stream recycling and food scrap guidelines and should be bilingual. Approved downloadable signs can be found here.
Create a purchasing policy for vendors and list the types of food and drink containers they are allowed to serve (no Styrofoam/polystyrene, plastic or bioplastic). Communicate early and often about the Town's regulations and ensure vendors are in compliance. This should be part of the vendor's event contract.
Communicate and coordinate with event janitorial staff about the material management plan and waste streams.
Depending on the event, consider promoting a BYO message and allow for refilling of personal water bottles or food containers. Depending on the event type and coordination with Summit County Public Health, additional reuse/refill options may be available.
At a minimum, educate attendees on the efforts made by event producers to comply. Many event attendees appreciate and support events striving for zero waste.
Food Serviceware, Containers + Hydration Stations
Single use plastic food serviceware, containers, and water bottles are strictly prohibited. This includes but is not limited to utensils, chopsticks, straws, stirrers, splash sticks and cocktails sticks, plates, bowls, trays, and cups. A list of recommended vendors can be found below.
Food Serviceware made from non-plastic materials are allowed but must be requested by the event patron. Self-service stations are allowed.
Early event marketing can encourage people to BYO water bottles. Consider offering bulk water hydration stations to patrons. A map of existing water refill stations can be found here. Rentals are also available.
VerTerra Dinnerware (can be composted locally if arranged with approved zero waste service provider)
Ball Aluminum Beverage Containers
Eco-Products - fiber products only
A growing reusable service economy can help grow your event. Provide, lend, or sell reusable beverage cups to event attendees or work with a third-party to supply reusable containers. Promote and incentive attendee to BYO.
Reusable Vendor Options
Post Event Clean-up and Reporting
Save money on disposal costs by ensuring materials are properly sorted. Vendors and janitorial crews are expected to adhere to event waste diversion guidelines. Break down cardboard boxes and compost food scraps. Build penalties/incentives into vendor contracts for vendors to clean up, sort, and reduce contamination. Cover, lock or immediately remove event waste containers to prevent illegal dumping and contamination.
For events over 1,000 attendees, a waste diversion report is required.
Un-Merch Your Event
Consider alternative ways to promote your event and showcase your social and environmental commitment. Host a food drive, take back event, or simply opt out of swag of any kind. Events are experiences and we can reverse the trend of excessive merchandising.
Donate Inventory Not Accepted
If inventory for plastic food serviceware still exists, it is recommended that you donate to a local organization instead of landfilling. Exempt organizations include schools, food banks, and other charitable organizations.