The Nelsonville Music Festival has been a zero waste fest since 2014!
We began our journey with Nelsonville Music festival in 2011 with a tarp and an idea. That year we were able to divert 1,630 lbs of recycling from the landfill. Since then we have expanded our efforts to include several initiatives that help make Nelsonville Music Festival the gold-standard of zero waste events.
Since 2011 we have recycled, composted, or reused the equivalent of 54,918 lbs of material at the Nelsonville Music Festival.
Nelsonville Music festival encourages Reuse. The beer garden sells reusable cups that attendees use throughout the weekend and then keep as souvenirs. Similarly, the Wine Garden reuses small mason jars for drinks. Inside the festival grounds there is a water bottle refill station with a water filter, so attendees can stay hydrated and avoid single-use water bottles.
Each year about 45% of the waste generated at Nelsonville Music festival is composted. This is achieved by having vendors sign a contract to only use compostable serviceware. From straws to coffee cups everything can go back to the earth.
Another 37% of material generated is recyclable. This is mainly water bottles, wine bottles, ice bags, and aluminum and tin from the food vendors.
A Culture of Awareness
We’ve created a culture of awareness! Since we began our work with The Nelsonville Music Festival we have been inside the festival grounds talking with attendees and making waste reduction part of the culture. After 7 years attendees expect waste reduction. They sort their waste both in the festival grounds and at their campsite, helping our efforts and making Nelsonville Music Festival a clean and sustainable event.
The Campground Effect
Nelsonville Music Festival’s Campground is detached from the festival grounds. Since 2015 we have been working to increase diversion rates in the campground, where we have less control over materials that are brought, and then discarded.
The effort to increase waste diversion in the campground has been monumental. In 2018 we were able to divert an additional 4,000 lbs of material from the landfill by setting up a second sorting operation in the Campground. Since we are a loud presence in the campground we rarely see piles of trash, tents, sleeping bags or coolers left behind. The campers respect our hard work and do their part to clean up after themselves.