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.

 Monterey Jazz Festival, in association with U.S. Pure Water, has implemented an impressive self-service filtered water program to eliminate the need for and the waste of single-use plastic bottles. Monterey Jazz Festival and U.S. Pure Water are committed to a sustainable practice for water use, acting locally while thinking globally.

All attendees of the Monterey Jazz Festival will be provided free access to multiple USPW filtered water stations (using compostable coconut shell carbon) throughout the three-day festival. Participants are asked to assist in the success of this new program by refilling and re-using drinking containers, leading to a huge reduction in plastic bottle waste from the event. Water bottles will also available for purchase, with the proceeds benefiting the Festival’s life-changing jazz education programs.

For more information on how to “green” a community event by reducing plastic bottle waste, please contact U.S. Pure Water/The Water Store. The company is a family-owned Marin County business, operating in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond for over 25 years. U.S. Pure Water can be reached at 415.883.9900 and on the web at

Beginning in 2008, the Monterey Jazz Festival introduced a free Bicycle Valet Parking for those patrons who are able to commute to the Festival from local hotels and residences. Provided in partnership between Monterey Jazz Festival, the Monterey County Fairgrounds and Monterey Green Action, the Free Bicycle Valet Service is located at Fairgrounds Gate 3, on the corner of Fairground Road and Garden Road, at the southwest end of the Festival grounds.

Monterey Green Action is committed to minimizing the environmental footprint of Monterey city. They promote green policies and practices, raise awareness, and spur community action to enable a socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous Monterey. Visit them on Facebook.

Bicycling Monterey is an information hub for biking in Monterey County, helping visitors and residents improve planetary and personal health while enjoying the ride! Bicycling helps reduce air, noise, and water pollution—including oil runoff into the Monterey Bay. Included on the Bicycling Monterey website are route tips for biking to the Monterey County Fairgrounds, and details on the bike valet parking provided at the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Green Pedal Couriers offers the most environmentally-sound way to deliver court documents, medical office deliveries, posters, fliers and more! Offering bike delivery service to Monterey, Seaside, Carmel, Pacific Grove and Salinas, Green Pedal strengthens the health of its individual riders – and has a positive impact on public health by keeping the environment cleaner.

Coming to the Monterey Jazz Festival? Plan your trip by using the Eat Well Everywhere mapping tool! You can search by location, keyword, category or product to find good food, and create and download customized guides to get fresh, locally grown and sustainably produced food on your way to the Festival.

The Eat Well Everywhere tool is produced by the Eat Well Guide®, a free online directory for anyone in search of fresh, locally grown and sustainably produced food in the United States and Canada. The Guide's thousands of listings include family farms, restaurants, farmers' markets, grocery stores, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, U-pick orchards and more. Let the Eat Well Guide help you find local, sustainable, and organic food wherever you go.