Special Event Recycling

Special Event Recycling

Organizers of special events that expect 200 or more individuals per day are required, under City Code §619.02, to separate recyclables from municipal waste. The following materials are required to be recycled for both pre and post recycling activities at special events:

  • Mixed Paper:
    • Brochures, newspaper, magazines, hardcover/softcover books, and paperboard. 
    • Flattened cardboard
    • What is not accepted: Coffee cups, shredded paper, greasy pizza boxes, paper plates or other food service ware items.
  • Aluminum and Steel:
    • Cans, bottles, and empty aerosol or food cans.
    • What is not accepted: Metal lids, metal cookware, bottle caps, and dirty aluminum pans and foil.
  • Plastics:
    • Bottles, jugs and jars (3 gallons or less).
    • What is not accepted: Plastic food containers such as clamshells, Keurig Cups, coffee cups lids, plastic lids, plastic cups, and bread trays.
  •  Glass:
    • Amber, green, and clear bottles and jugs (3-gallons or less).
    • What is not accepted: Windows, Pyrex, plate, drink or dinnerware.

You can either:

  1. Hire a private hauler to collect your recycling
  2. Self-haul recyclables collected at your event to a City of Pittsburgh recycling drop-off or a recycling processor
  3. Contact the City of Pittsburgh Recycling Division to determine logistics for the City to collect recycling at the end of your special event (based on availability)

Pre-Event Planning

  • Pack-In/Pack-Out: Talk with your vendors and/or fellow event coordinators to understand who, what, where and how many materials will be generated. Establish ownership of these materials and eliminate waste whenever possible.
  • Develop and coordinate a plan for handling and recycling the materials once collected:
    • Find out what programs or equipment are already available on-site at your venue. Existing infrastructure may be sufficient for your needs.
    • Arrange for the storage and/or return of loaned equipment (City-owned equipment must be returned the following business day).
  • Once you have developed your plan, be sure to actively communicate expectations/availability of recycling and disposal options with your visitors, staff and/or volunteers.

Best Management Practices

  • Always pair your trash and recycling containers together to make disposal options both obvious and convenient for your attendees and to prevent confusion and/or contamination.
  • Use different colored bags for your trash and recycling to make sure separated materials are kept separate throughout the handling process.
  • Break down and flatten any and all corrugated cardboard boxes and place them all on a pallet or designated collection area.

Equipment/Event Support

The City of Pittsburgh’s Recycling Division is available to assist you in recycling at your event.

Assistance provided may include:

  • Determining logistics for recycling
  • Loaning collection equipment
  • Providing collection at end of your event

Event organizers must organize volunteers or provide staff for the collection, maintenance, and supervision of collection containers during your event.

Cost Recovery

In an effort to drive positive outcomes in special event recycling, the City operates under a model of cost recovery to recoup the costs of providing equipment directly to your event.

Please see the Public Works Rate Card to see our current pricing information. We are also willing to waive fees for events/organizers willing to self-service equipment from our office.

Available Equipment


Clearstream Recycling Stands

  • Color-coded, collapsible stands with selective opening lids and labels for collecting co-mingled recyclables. How-to-Use
  • Measurements: 40" x 25" x 3/4" (Folded) 40" x 25" x 18" (Opened)

Cube Carts (0.75 yd³)

  • May be used to store and secure up to 25 clearstream stands and lids or to transport materials on-site during the event (Minimum order of 15 clearstream containers to reserve cube carts) 
  • Measurements: 49.25"l x 32.5"w x 38.75"h

Recycling Bags 

  • Recycling bags may also be included upon request at no additional charge (Recommmended minimum bag size 40-45 gal 40" x 46")

Special Event Recycling Equipment Rental



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