Dead and Company performing at Blossom earlier this year.
In 2014, Live Nation began trying to find ways of reducing waste at its concert venues. Just last week, it announced that it has accelerated those programs with the goal of achieving Zero Waste (meaning all waste is either recycled or composted) at several of its venues, including Blossom.
“[In 2016], we began to switch to compostable food service ware and to improve our waste diversion through composting,” says Lucy August-Perna, Manager of Venue Sustainability, U.S. Concerts at Live Nation. “We also introduced the reusable pint cup to encourage fans to refill their beer cups and reduce the amount of single-use cups. Those programs were in place, and in 2016, efforts started to pick up. We did some research and realized we’re at a 15 percent diversion rate [for waste] across the country, which is pretty low. That fueled the fire.”
As a result, this summer Live Nation has created new employee programs to help venues such as Blossom foster sustainability. Through its newly founded “Sustainability Rocks” program and upgraded waste reduction practices, Live Nation is aiming to achieve Zero Waste at the venue by 2020. Live Nation has also started educating all venue staff through a specialized Zero Waste e-learning course that's available to all employees.
The company has also hired a Venue Sustainability Coordinator to implement practices in venue waste reduction efforts. This includes working with concessions partners and sub-vendors to ensure all food service ware is either reusable, compostable or recyclable. A number of venue staff are designated as Zero Waste Captains to ensure materials are sorted into proper waste streams for recovery.
“This year, we have extended our policy to our sub-vendors, and we are working with them to help them make the transition to compostable food service ware,” says August-Perna. “The other side of that is the post-show sorting process. Now that we do composting, it’s important to reduce contamination. We don’t want to give our compost partners a bunch of trash. It’s important that everything we give them is certifiable compostable.”
Blossom has also eliminated all plastic straws and substituted paper straws, which are available by request only.
There are plans to continue to conserve water and electricity too.
“Blossom did make the switch to LED lighting this past year, so that’s been great," says August-Perna. "We are looking at various water conserving measures. That could mean using low-flow faucets. Much of backstage already has low-flow showers and sinks. We're looking at how to do that in the front of the house. We hope to work toward that. Our whole team at Blossom is great. They've taken these programs and brought them to life.”