Concessionaires and Vendors
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Concessionaires and vendors are vital partners to successful venue recycling. They, along with the venue management team and staff, can contribute significantly to a recycling program.
Typically, vendors and exhibitors are licensed or permitted on a short-term basis, such as at fairs and special events, making it relatively easy to require recycling in their contracts. Concessionaires, on the other hand, usually have a longer-term, contractual relationship with facilities. More time might be needed to amend their contracts to require recycling.
View the fact sheet explaining how to involve concessionaires and vendors in your recycling program | PDF Version (4 pp, 113K, about PDF), including a sample letter you can send concessionaires and vendors to involve and inform them early in the planning process.
Food and souvenir concessionaires, vendors, and exhibitors typically discard corrugated cardboard containers, used beverage containers and cups, packaging, and food scraps.
Strategies for reducing and recycling the concessionaire waste stream include:
- Require that they sell beverages in recyclable containers. If using plastic cups, use cups made from plastic materials that your hauler or recycling center accepts.
- Require collection and recycling of cardboard and other packaging, even if it is not part of the general public recycling program.
Recycling is not the only way to reduce waste. Encourage concessionaires to adopt practices and activities that prevent waste before it is generated. They can:
- Reduce packaging and shipping containers by reusing them when possible.
- Hand out straws and napkins only when requested.
- Provide condiments in bulk containers rather than single-serve packets.
- Avoid purchasing supplies and products in multi-material packaging that cannot be recycled (e.g., grated cheese containers with paper and foil) or other difficult-to-recycle materials.
|Package of wrapped plastic utensils||Individually dispensed, unwrapped plastic utensils, biodegradable utensils, or none at all|
|Polystyrene trays||Recyclable trays or no trays at all|
|Polystyrene cups, unrecyclable paper cups, unrecyclable plastic cups||Recyclable cups, biodegradable paper cups, or refillable cups|
|Composite materials||Recyclable plastic (PET) or biodegradable paper|
|Foil wrappers (for fries or sandwiches)||Recyclable or biodegradable paper wrappers|
|Individually packaged condiments||Condiment station with items in bulk pumps/bottles|
|Plastic plates||Biodegradable paper plates|
To brainstorm ways for concessionaires and vendors to prevent food waste, visit EPAs Food Waste page or refer to additional resources below.
- Putting Surplus Food to Good Use: A How-To Guide for Food Service Providers (PDF) (2 pp, 1.1MB, about PDF)
- Waste Not/Want Not: Feeding the Hungry and Reducing Solid Waste Through Food Recovery (PDF) (59 pp, 1.4MB, about PDF)
Create educational materials for the venue’s management team, staff, and concessionaires explaining:
- The importance of recycling
- Their roles and responsibilities
- The materials being collected
- How the program will be implemented
- What recycling bins/containers will be supplied
- Where to place recycling bins
- The schedule for emptying the recycling bins
Encourage concessionaires to educate their employees about the recycling program.
A successful and sustainable recycling program requires upkeep. Regularly check with your venue general manager and concessionaires to track program success. For techniques, visit the Monitoring and Evaluation page. Be sure concessionaires know how to contact the program’s recycling coordinator if they have any questions or problems.
At special events, the recycling collection program is temporary rather than permanent, and additional attention must be paid to concessionaires and vendors. Clearly outline what services they will be provided and their responsibilities. View a sample letter you can send concessionaires and vendors as soon as you have developed your recycling program. Dont forget the exhibitors at special events.
Also, learn more about recruiting volunteers, who play a vital role in assisting vendors during your special event.