Stick around to the end of a music festival or concert, and the grounds can look like a graveyard of disposable cups and discarded plastic bottles. While it’s not unusual for a concert-goer to go through a few bottles of water or other beverages while enjoying some music, when the party’s over, this plastic pollution seriously adds up.
That’s why, as Rolling Stone reports, the Plastic Pollution Coalition (that’s made up of individuals and institutions dedicated to eliminating plastic waste on a global scale) have made it a mission to stamp out this environmentally harmful, single-use item at concerts.
The coalition’s project, Plastic Free Touring, advises artists such as Jackson Browne, Ben Harper and Crosby, Stills and Nash to reduce their plastic footprint while on the road. The coalition also partnered with this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, where revelers could purchase stainless steel water bottles and beer cups (and receive a $1 discount for every subsequent beer purchase), which could be used to stay hydrated with free water refill sites.
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Dianna Cohen, eco-activist and Plastic Pollution Coalition co-founder, tells Rolling Stone that she wants to expand this plastic-free initiative outside of the music arena. “This can be extended to sporting venues and schools,” she says. “I’d also like to see venues offer more people options of producing beverages from kegs, large containers and soda fountains.”
She adds that she has a larger goal to wipe out humanity’s plastic bottle habit for good.  “Millions and millions of bottles are sold every minute,” she says. (About 2.4 million tons is discarded annually, with 75 percent going straight to the landfill.) “It’s insane, just collective madness.”
Besides the plastic carnage, concerts (and just about any other event that attracts large crowds) use up a lot of other resources — from the countless fliers that get handed out to the amount of carbon that is emitted when people travel to shows.
However, more and more artists and bands such as Radiohead, Drake, Phish, and The Roots are embracing sustainability, utilizing biodiesel tour buses and compostable catering. Large gatherings are opportune moments for musicians and concert organizers to be role models in sustainability. After all, why can’t concerts be fun and work towards the greater good at the same time?
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