Greening the Monterey Jazz Festival

Over the last several years, Monterey Jazz Festival has embarked on several initiatives to Green the event. We have partnered with ecologically-minded companies to reduce the carbon footprint of the festival, reduce waste through recycling; minimize the use of polystyrene/Styrofoam materials, and keep our planet clean. You can read about the results, Sustainability in Action: Monterey Jazz Festival 2014 Report, prepared by the Offset Project.

Ecology Action of Santa Cruz established a grant funded program known as the Five Star Recycling partnership in 2007. Over the course of the grant term, Ecology Action and grant partners implemented comprehensive beverage container recycling programs at 27 special events. These special events and the venues which host them received professional assistance, bins, signage and full staff training to increase beverage container diversion and help get each facility closer to zero waste. The Monterey County Fairgrounds received hundreds of blue recycling barrels that are currently used during all venue events.

In addition to receiving the benefits of this grant via the Fairgrounds, the Monterey Jazz Festival was selected to receive additional food waste assistance as a pilot initiative. The concept was to start small, work with the Fairgrounds staff, and ultimately implement a year-round program. The Monterey Jazz Festival was selected due to its commitment to sustainable initiatives/marketing that appeared throughout the years.

Ecology Action partnered with The Offset Project in 2008 to implement the program and bring it their volunteers. The program was very simple: bring in the infrastructure to collect the food waste from the vendor areas, targeting only back-of-the-house.

Our volunteer team was on the ground during the entire Festival ensuring that there was no contamination in the bins. In 2014, vendors, working alongside the Fairgrounds maintenance crew and volunteers, diverted 4,280 pounds of food waste from back-of-house vendor and public eating areas during the 57th Monterey Jazz Festival. This represents a 7% increase from 2013.

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