Popular Festival Aims to Become More Green
As Lollapalooza launches its seventh year in Chicago's Grant Park, the popular music festival is expected to see more than 100 bands, a record sellout crowd and, if past years are any indication, what could amount to nearly 200 tons of trash. But what festival organizers are hoping will change is just how much of that garbage ends up in landfills. According to Chicago Tribune reporting, in 2010, Lollapalooza kept only 25 percent of its 177 tons of waste out of area dumps.
By comparison, Tennessee-based music festival Bonnaroo, which attracted more than 75,000 people in 2010, diverted 32 percent of its trash that year. Chicago's Pitchfork festival, with a crowd of about 55,000 during a three-day span in 2010, diverted 42 percent of its 24 tons of trash. And two smaller music festivals in Colorado have succeeded in keeping more than 60 percent of their trash out of landfills.
To reduce the waste the festival produces, organizers have stepped up recycling and added a composting program for this year's festival, which is expected to draw about 270,000 people over three days. Festivalgoers will now be encouraged to throw food waste, plates and cutlery into special composting bins.
But part of the problem with a larger festival like Lollapalooza is getting everyone to contribute. According to reports, 10 percent of festival attendees can't be bothered to think about sustainability. Another 10 percent purposely defy recycling efforts. Lollapalooza uses more than 200 volunteers to guard recycling bins and monitor compost collections to keep attendees from throwing trash in the wrong spot, which could contaminate the collection.
The festival provides 700 waste bins outfitted with recycling containers, and hosts a "Rock & Recycle" program, which allows patrons to exchange bottles and cans for organic T-shirts. Lollapalooza also restricts vendors from using plastic foam or plastic bags.
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