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I have the attached article and several guides for recycling at events
like you mention some of them are posted on EPA's ROGo web site at
Also NERC has put together an events recycling guide on their web site
at On NERC's web page at http://www.nerc.org/adobe/Special_Event_BMPs_FINAL.pdf
The contact for the Lowell Folk Festival recycling program is Pat
Pat recruited me as a volunteer for the 2004 festival. It was a great
learning experience and a remarkable recovery effort for containers,
corrugated cardboard and compostables. I worked just about every
aspect of the diversion effort with the exception of planning and the
recruiting of sponsors and volunteers. Somehow I found time to take
Beginning in 2000 through 2003, the festival boasted a 99 percent
recovery rate for beverage containers and the recovery of 100,000
meals, including food leftovers, paper plates and napkins and
biodegradable cutlery through composting. This was accomplished by
assessing the potential for recycling in 1999, initiating recycling in
2000, piloting food waste recovery in 2001, then full scale recovery
beginning in 2002. All food vendors are required to sell beverages in
plastic or aluminum containers and use biodegradable food serving
materials and cutlery. Progressing in small steps was critical to
The 2006 festival runs July 28-30. http://www.lowellfolkfestival.org/
I assembled a PowerPoint presentation about the festival as a back-up
in the event that Pat could not present on the subject of event
recycling at the 2004 PROP Conference, which was held immediately
after the festival and during a major convention in Boston where Pat
was simultaneously organizing a successful paper recovery effort.
The .ppt file is much too large to e-mail, but I could burn it to a
disk if you are interested.
Trashy Festivals? Not Anymore: Warped, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo Go
Eco-friendly summer fests aim to clean up after themselves.
Anthony Kiedis and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will headline
Photo: Karl Walter/ Getty Images
Piles of plastic bottles. A carpet of pizza boxes. Backstage
generators belching diesel smoke and fumes. Putrid, overflowing Porta-
Potties baking in the sun. And enough wasted energy to light a small
home for a month.
If these images are what come to mind when you imagine a typical
summer festival or tour, you're either an environmentalist or part of
the clean-up crew.
While the Porta-Potty problem isn't likely to go away any time soon,
the organizers of some of this summer's biggest festivals and tours
have come up with novel ways to reduce the environmental damage caused
by their events. From recycled-paper products to hemp concert tees,
eco-friendly irrigation systems, biodiesel fleets and the banishment
of throwaway plates and utensils backstage, the Warped Tour,
Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, All Good and Bonnaroo festivals are
getting their green on this summer.
One of the biggest initiatives is by Manchester, Tennessee's Bonnaroo
Music & Arts Festival (June 16-18), which is fitting, given the jam-
band/hippie vibe it was tagged with in its early years. Organizers say
they are going all out this year to lessen the impact the 80,000
attendees - almost all of whom camp on the grounds - have on the 700-
acre farm that hosts the event.
Working with the environmental consulting company Earthchange
Technologies, the festival's greening plan includes commemorative T-
shirts made of organic cotton and hemp; biodegradable wraps, plates,
cups and cutlery to serve concession food; and a sitewide recycling
and composting program.
The organizers' goal is to divert more than 60 percent of the
festival's waste from local landfills, a 50 percent increase over last
year's recycling efforts. Working with Tennessee's WastAway, Bonnaroo
plans to recycle 250 of the 500 tons of garbage produced on site into
construction material and park benches to be used at future events.
Even the toilet paper in the portable toilets will consist of post-
consumer recycled products.
"We've looked at a lot that we can do to make Bonnaroo as friendly as
possible, and we've read a lot about global warming like everyone
else, and the more we do the more we realize we can make a
difference," said Richard Goodstone, a partner in event co-producer
Superfly Productions. "If we can get at the forefront [of
environmental efforts] and educate people and lead the way, we'd love
to be a part of that."
Another way the Bonnaroo organizers plan to lessen its impact is by
using 25,000 gallons of cleaner-burning biodiesel fuel for all its non-
music stage generators and running one stage entirely on solar power.
Organizers have also arranged to buy renewable-wind energy credits
from the American Indian-run energy company NativeEnergy, which will
offset Bonnaroo's carbon-dioxide emissions and neutralize the three-
day gathering's contribution to global warming.
There will also be a "greenest campsite" contest and "cool tags" for
sale that will allow attendees to buy wind-energy credits to offset
emissions from their travel to Bonnaroo. Organizers are also bringing
back the Planet Roo eco village, which will feature educational
materials on preserving the environment.
"We want to make sure that everyone is aware of what can be done out
there," Goodstone said of the educational aspect of Planet Roo. "From
wind energy to fluorescent lighting, energy credits and recycling,
most people realize global warming is a big issue, they just don't
know what they can do about it."
On the other end of the rock spectrum, say what you will about punk's
nihilistic attitude, just don't tell Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin
Lyman that it extends to the environment. This year, the Warped Tour
got together with environmentalist Tim Allyn to launch the Warped Eco
Initiative, spearheaded by a pledge to use only biodiesel fuel for the
tour's 18 buses, 14 production trucks and half its backstage
generators. According to Lyman, by using Biodiesel B20, the tour will
reduce carbon-monoxide emissions by an estimated 16 percent, or
roughly 500,000 pounds.
In an equally radical move, the tour's catering company is launching a
reuse-and-recycle plan backstage to cut down on the purchase and
disposal of 81,000 paper plates by the artists and crew. Instead,
Warped will use real dishes and cart dishwashing machines on the road
alongside corn-based coffee mugs provided by a tour sponsor. Because
they've had some problems finding the right hook-ups at a handful of
venues, Lyman said the plans for next year already include a trailer
that will be fitted with dishwashers and water tanks.
The reuse-and-recycle program is expected to turn thousands of
recycled items into tens of thousands of dollars for local nonprofit
organizations, according to Lyman. And, like Bonnaroo, Warped will
also have a green stage, the Kevin Says/ Hot Topic Stage, which will
run its sound system on a 40,000-watt, solar-powered sound system.
Power for the tour's vendors will also be green, coming from a
combination of B20 and B100 (100 percent vegetable-derived fuel),
which will save an estimated 50,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from
entering the atmosphere. While the switch to biodiesel was initially
going to cost Lyman a bit more, with rising gas prices, he said the
increase is actually negligible at this point. "A lot of people say,
'Oh, big deal, Willie Nelson uses biodiesel on one bus and one truck.'
But if we can make it work with all our buses and trucks, then you can
make it work on your tour."
Organizers of the Austin City Limits Festival are taking an entirely
different approach to eco-friendliness. At Zilker Park, where the
Austin City Limits Festival will take place September 15-17, co-
promoters Capital Sports & Entertainment and Charles Attal Presents
helped the Austin Parks & Recreation Department get an earlier-than-
expected start on a three-year plan to install a new irrigation system
on park grounds.
The system will provide healthier grass for ACL attendees - as well as
the Austinites who use the park the rest of the year. In an effort to
offset its energy use, ACL has arranged to buy "green power" for
Zilker Park through Austin Energy's Renewable Energy Program, using
energy from clean, renewable sources to run some of its operations.
CSE also purchased 50 megawatts' worth of energy credits from Green
Mountain Energy to offset the emissions produced by generators on
One of the keys to Lollapalooza re-emerging as a destination festival
last year in Chicago's scenic Grant Park was its commitment to
enhancing the city's legendary green space. Organizers said the event
donated $400,000 to Chicago neighborhood park projects last year,
adding that this year's pledge is $600,000. This year's Lolla, taking
place August 4-6, will also focus on environmental issues, with
educational and interactive booths in the Causapalooza area as well as
a "virtual march" coordinated by StopGlobalWarming.org.
Lolla will also be the first event in Chicago to make use of a new,
easily identifiable recycling container that the Chicago Parks
District is rolling out around the city this summer.
Even lesser-known festivals, such as the 10th annual jam-band-centric
All Good Music Festival in Masontown, West Virginia (July 14-16), are
getting into the act. For the past seven years, the event's promoter
has hired Vermont's Clean Vibes to handle all trash collection and
recycling on site, with the goal of leaving nothing but footprints
behind on the Marvin's Mountaintop site. Vibes also cleans up several
miles of access roads before and after the concert; this year, it
expects to collect almost 4 tons of recyclable materials.
"We need to invest back into what we're doing and start the process of
change, and maybe it will become standard practice in the tour
business," Warped's Lyman said.
- Gil Kaufman
What do you think of this story? You Tell Us
On Apr 20, 12:51 pm, "Laurie Batchelder Adams" <lbaas...@no.address>
> I'm looking for waste comp data for small event centers. Denver will be
> implementing a recycling program at its Red Rocks Amphitheater which is a
> small outdoor arena open from May to September each year and hosting mostly
> concerts on a nearly nightly basis during the season. While the concert
> audiences vary in size, the relative activity is very consistent, unlike a
> fairgrounds or coliseum. Like a stadium, there are tailgate parties in the
> parking lots but consumption for the evening events leans towards liquids
> more than solids. Therefore we expect the waste composition to be different
> from the larger, more diverse event facilities. Do any of you have (or know
> of) a similar, small outdoor arena that might have a similar waste stream
> and available data? Thanks,
> Laurie Batchelder Adams
> 2186 S. Washington St.
> Denver, Colorado 80210
> <mailto:lbaas...@no.address> lbaas...@no.address
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