It's Not Easy Being Green: How Venues And Festivals Handle All That Garbage
|Sold-out Jay-Z crowd = A lot of trash at Toyota Center.|
|Hungry crowds at events like Buzzfest 2009 test the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion's recycling capacity|
Young said one of the biggest challenges is getting concert-goers to recycle their concessions. "Bands like Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead - they're much more active since they're a younger audience with a potential to change things," he said. "The classic-rock fans - they're kind of set in their ways." The Pavilion has hosted the Buzzfest music festival since 2001. The concert draws around 16,500 people, who remain at the venue for as long as 12 hours at a time. "They'll consume three or fours meals during that time. Obviously, the longer they're here, the more impact they'll have."
So the Pavilion has installed recycling bins throughout the facility instead of just trash cans, and has taken steps to avoid the problems that faced the Austin City Limits Festival last year, when rain mixed with the feet of several thousand hipsters, turning the substance known as Dillo Dirt into one giant pig slop. "We spend a tremendous amount of money on native plants that are high heat and low water tolerant," Young said. "This last year we've changed to a French drainage system to reduce flooding, and parts of the lawn are sand-capped, like a golf course."
In addition, the Pavilion works with a company called MosquitoNix, who provides natural insecticides, and a local composting business, Nature's Way. In a few weeks, it will participate in a pilot program with Waste Management to use solar-powered trash and recycling compactors. "Eventually, our hope is to turn into a zero-waste facility in the next 10 years," Young said.