Event Recycling & Composting

On December 12, 2019, Mayor and Commission updated the Material Management Policy for all Athens-Clarke County Unified Government Buildings and Facilities and Public Spaces. All events sponsored or held by the Unified Government or permitted by the Unified Government through a special events permit must provide or arrange for recycling collection services. In addition, all events with two or more food and/or beverage vendors must use reusable, recyclable or compostable materials for any single-use items.

Guidelines for 2 or more Food Vendors in Public Spaces

  • All food vendors must use compostable or recyclable greenware, including but not limited to plates, bowls, cups, and flatware. 
    • Utensils/straws/food containers MUST be compostable.
    •  Any materials that will have food or food residue after use are NOT recyclable. A compostable version MUST be used.
      • Paper cups and hard plastic cups (and their accompanying lids) may be used for free-draining liquid beverages (e.g., water, soda, juice, and beer).BPI Certification
      • Compostable cups/bowls and lids MUST be used for solids or thick liquids (e.g., frappes, milkshakes, soups, chili, and anything leaving food residue).
      •  BPI certification is recommended when buying compostable materials.  Labeling can be misleading and MANY vendors have purchased items that are not compostable because of this. BPI means it is certified compostable.
  • No disposable items outside of individually professionally prepackaged foods (ice cream, chips, etc.) are allowed.
  • All food vendors must fill out and submit to ACC a Special Event Food Vendor Application.  
  •  Event planners should inform vendors to submit their forms at least 3 weeks before the event so their materials can be reviewed and allow them time to confirm they have the correct products.
  • Vendors that repeatedly use non-recyclable or non-compostable materials may be denied and barred from future participation in events.

Guide for Compostables vs Recyclables

Create your own waste signs for your event

A description of recyclable materials and compostable materials is available on our website accgov.com/recycle.

The  Recycling Division is a resource for you and the vendors! We can make customizable signage for waste management and are happy to answer any questions. We want to help you minimize the waste these events create and simplify the process. It helps to inform vendors of these requirements before they register for an event or as soon as they do.    

CompostablesCompostable Products

Compostable food service products are getting easier to find, and cheaper to purchase. Below is a short list of known local retailers; a brief internet search will turn up many more. Please be sure the selected products are BPI-certified as compostable. The following are sources to order greenwares: 

  • Let’s Go Green, a Conyers-based national distributor of Eco Products letsgogreen.biz/
  • Market Fresh Athens, a Statham, GA-based local distributor of Eco Products - order@marketfreshathens.com or call 706-207-9069.
  • Sam's Club carries Hefty EcoSafe products and Chinet paper plates which are compostable.
  • Cost Co carries Eco Raj Compostables, Chinet, and World Centricpaper plates which are compostable.

Call Recycling Division with any questions at 706-613-3501 ext. 7878.

Collection Containers

Zero Waste Event BinsThe Recycling Division offers event recycling and composting containers for no charge. Recycling bags are included at no charge but composting bags require a fee of $5 per bag. Event containers may be requested through our Zero Waste Kit online registration. If you require delivery of collection containers, they may be delivered for a $35 flat fee. Please request delivery by emailing recycle@accgov.com.


Successful zero-waste events take planning, education, and proper execution. This guide will help you understand what materials should be used and which bin is the proper bin for disposal. Share this guide with your event planners and food vendors and then use the customizable signage to create signs for your event to educate your guests.


The Recycling Division offers several resources to help your waste reduction program to be successful including:

  • Event recycling and composting training
  • List of online resources for purchasing compostable wares (see Compostable Products above)
  • Customizable signage for your bins

Please email recycle@accgov.com for training requests, customized signage, or information on compostable wares.

Solid Waste Services

The Solid Waste Department can assist you with the collection of your scrap materials during your event. We can provide collection containers as well as service them during your event. Please email recycle@accgov.com for more information.

Zero Waste Kits

As well as offering event recycling and composting bins, we also offer Zero Waste Kits. You can request a kit to include items such as reusable plates, wares, cups, napkins, and more for you to borrow for any event, in order to reduce the need for disposables and send less stuff to the landfill. Click here to submit a request for use of our recycling bins or reusable wares!