Bonnaroo's sustainability team announced Tuesday the launch of Refill Revolution, a festival-wide pilot sustainability project designed to keep fans hydrated while encouraging them to rethink plastic consumption habits and reduce disposable cup and bottle waste at the event and beyond.
Bonnaroo is teaming up with Steelys Drinkware and the Plastic Pollution Coalition to encourage fans to join the Refill Revolution by switching from conventional single-use plastic and compostable cups and bottles to reusable ones made of food-grade stainless steel. Festival goers will have access to more than 20,000 Bonnaroo-themed stainless steel water bottles and beverage cups that can be reused endlessly. Fans will be able to hydrate with their Bonnaroo drinkware at free water wells and free filtered drinking water stations positioned throughout the festival site as well as participating beverage service venues.
"This project is a huge step toward furthering our goal to become as sustainable as possible as a festival," said Laura Sohn, Bonnaroo's sustainability coordinator. "It empowers and encourages fans to take steps to be part of the festival waste solution."
The Refill Revolution water bottles with carabineer clip carriers will be available for $5 at all concession stands and additional vendor locations. The wide mouth vessel is designed for easy refills at the free water stations, and participating vendors will also accept them for serving select beverage purchases. The custom steel pint cups will be sold for $15 wherever draft beer is available on-site. The price includes the cup, filled with a cold beer, plus an insulated scuba foam carrying strap for transport. As a further incentive all attendees with a Refill Revolution cup will get an automatic $1 discount on all subsequent brew purchases for the remainder of the festival (except in the B'rooers Fest area).
“We’re excited to help Bonnaroo ignite the Refill Revolution and showcase creative new ways for individuals and events to approach waste diversion,” said John Borg, founder and CEO of Steelys. “Bonnaroo has extraordinary relevance to thousands of music fans and presents a tremendous opportunity to rethink the disposable mentality that’s engrained in our culture.”
The goal of Refill Revolution is to raise awareness about waste and to reduce bottle and plastic consumption associated with the tens of thousands of beverage servings made during the course of the festival. Cold beverages served during hot summer events create a spike in single-use cup and bottle consumption annually. Glassware is typically too fragile to use at events. Single-use plastic cups and bottles can’t always be recycled (and when they are, the reclamation process uses large amounts of water and energy). A single steel cup or bottle can be reused thousands of times, saving resources with each reuse over time, said officials.
“Consumption of disposable plastic cups and bottles has spiraled out of control,” said Dianna Cohen, co-founder of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance of organizations and businesses working to stop plastic consumption and pollution and its toxic impacts. “The trend toward reusable steel cups and bottles is an important development in source reduction and waste diversion that can make a real impact.”
As a pilot program, the use of alternative bottles and visits to the filling stations and reduction in waste will be tracked so the program can be tweaked next year. The goal is to significantly reduce festival waste over time.
"We believe our fans will embrace this program as we strive to reduce our impact," said Ms. Sohn. “Our hope is that we'll raise awareness so that Bonnaroovains will take these home and re-use them to cut daily waste and spread the refill revolution."
One of North America’s largest music festivals, Bonnaroo also is recognized as one of the most sustainable, thanks to pioneering event greening practices such as promoting ride sharing, providing extensive environmental outreach and education, generating power from a permanent solar array, and initiating ambitious composting, recycling and upcycling programs. Last year alone Bonnaroo diverted more than 366 tons of landfill waste.