Zero Waste

The Clearwater Festivals roots are based in the environmental movement. In keeping true to our mission, we will continue to reduce the amount of materials going into the waste stream as we strive towards zero festival waste.

At the festival, you will notice “Zero Waste” stations where recyclables and compostables are collected separately from trash. To make sorting easier, vendors will provide food in compostable or recyclable service ware. When visiting our festival, please be sure to look for these stations to handle your waste. Volunteers will be nearby to help you sort the following categories.


What we compost at the Clearwater Festival:

  • All food waste
  • Paper napkins
  • Paper plates and cups
  • Compostable plastics – utensils and cups
  • Wooden skewers, chopsticks and utensils


Thanks to a recent new law in Westchester County (where our host, Croton Point Park is located), our recycling at the Clearwater Festival has increased substantially. As of June 1, 2011 we recycle plastics 1 through 7 with some limitations.

What we will be recycling:

Quick Reference Guide to Westchester County’s Expanded Source Separation Law for Plastics

Help us do it right and get closer to Zero Waste (ZW) this year:

  • Place all your recyclable items in the ZW station bin labeled “Recycle”.
  • Place all your compostable materials in the ZW station bin labeled “Compost”.
  • Bring your own reusable mug, water bottle, utensils, or even a dish.
  • Only buy what you plan to consume.
  • Avoid bringing unnecessary materials into the event.
  • Avoid purchasing items with packaging that is not recyclable or compostable.
  • Recycle your festival program book at the end of the festival.

Progress Toward Zero Waste

Since 2009, our festival has taken incremental steps toward Zero Waste. Our greatest challenges during this time have been effectively collecting food waste/organics from the waste stream and establishing baseline percentages for each category (trash, recycling, composting). Here is a summary of our progress:

2010 Expanded compost collection and saved nearly 4.5 tons, or 9,000 pounds, of organic material for composting to enrich the earth and not be dumped as garbage into the waste stream.

2011 Collected 9,900 pounds of compostable material.

2012 Expanded the number of collection stations throughout the site; bolstered Zero Waste infrastructure and the number of Zero Waste volunteers and recovered 10,140 lbs. of organic material.

2013 Retrieved weights of material collected during the festival and established baseline percentages for each of the following categories:

Trash = 5563 lbs. (2.78 tons) = 26%
Recycling = 4840 lbs. (2.42 tons) = 22%
Compost = 11360 lbs. (5.68 tons) = 52%

When aggregated, the Recycling and Compost total collectively 8.1 tons of diverted material, or ~75% of our waste stream!

For more information about Zero Waste at our festival please write to To volunteer with our Zero Waste recycling, composting and litter picking team please click here.

The Clearwater Festival‘s efforts toward Zero Waste are supported by the following entities:

WeCare OrganicsSuburban CartingRockland County Solid Waste Management Authority