The organisation therefore launched a series of steps yesterday, which the industry can take to create sustainable events across the whole sector.

The plan, Zero waste events: a 2020 vision, challenges the sector to consider how it can work in tandem with partners across its whole supply chain to reduce waste.

The events industry supports around 25,000 businesses and 500,000 full time equivalent jobs. While its value is projected to rise to £48bn by 2020, it has significant scope for reducing waste.

Although some of the sector has achieved as much as a 50% recycling rate for their events, most are averaging just 15%, with a large amount of waste going direct to landfill.

According to an independent review from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, the London 2012 Olympics offered a valuable opportunity for spectators to observe sustainability in practice. It was also praised for its careful attention to sustainable packaging and its ambitious targets including zero waste to landfill and a reuse/recycling 70% target.

WRAP CEO Liz Goodwin said: “The London 2012 Olympics showed just what could be achieved by a clear commitment, by trying to prevent waste and manage it sustainably.

“Making waste prevention part of an event’s plan can deliver significant savings for businesses large and small. It will benefit all, from local community activities right up to large scale UK events like the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow.”

Goodwin explained that the roadmap was a simple vision developed to support business growth by managing resources efficiently but that by taking on the challenge, individually and collectively, substantial economic benefits were possible

Resource Management Minister Lord de Mauley added: “The UK has a rich and diverse heritage of music festivals, sporting events and cultural activities running throughout the year. These bring considerable economic benefits to our towns and cities through domestic spending and by attracting tourists to our shores.

“An industry worth £36bn can make significant savings by tackling waste and reducing the impact waste overheads have on the bottom line. The industry can use this roadmap to improve their business returns through simple, collective effort.”

Conor McGlone

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