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Rockers Go Green at Milwaukee’s Music Festival

2011 October 11

By Karen Mark

I recently staffed an EPA booth for the first Rock the Green festival committed to seeking near-zero waste in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was skeptical at first, a “near-zero waste” event? Not only was I impressed by what I saw but I realized that behavioral changes are the most effective way to reduce waste and energy.

Simple measures add up! The festival was powered entirely from biodiesel generators, solar and bicycle power. Concert merchandise featured recycled t-shirts from Goodwill with a screen printed Rock the Green guitar logo. Each t-shirt was unique. Volunteers assisted attendees in properly disposing of food and compostable plates and utensils into compost and recycle bins. The compost will become fertilizer for Veterans Park, the event locale.

Great music and food made it worthwhile and knowing the small “carbon footprint” from Rock the Green made it even more enjoyable. This year was such a success that Rock the Green will be back in 2012!

Every year, Americans produce huge amounts of waste. Here are some student projects that are changing their community’s habits to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

After learning their local landfill would be full by 2013, junior high students formed EcoLogical in Homer, Alaska to reduce their school’s waste. They switched the school’s non-recyclable trays to reusable plastic trays and created a recycling area in the cafeteria. By the end of the school year, EcoLogical prevented 2,000 polystyrene trays from entering the landfill and increased recycling by 3 times in their school.

When a 6th grade science class from HB Woodlawn in Arlington, Virginia visited a local stream to study about watersheds, they were shocked to discover electronic equipment dumped into the stream. Since the county only offered drop-off sites for recycling electronics, the students launched their “We’ll Bring It to You” Curbside Electronics Recycling project. Students, their parents and school faculty collected more than 450 pieces of ‘e-waste’ from homes and properly disposed of them at the drop-off sites.

Hundreds of thousands enjoy the annual Durham Fair in Connecticut. The Coginchaug High School’s Environmental Coginchaug Organization (ECO) Club and Boy Scout Troop 27 collected over 19,000 plastics bottles at the fair, accounting for nearly one-third of the bottles sold. They educated the public about the importance of recycling. All recyclables collected were turned into recycled packaging products.

To read more about the 3 R’s

About the author: Karen Mark is a Student Temporary Employment Program intern in the Air and Radiation Division in Region 5. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Environmental Management and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Public Service Management.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. Teasha permalink
    October 15, 2011

    This is really fantastic, so many times I have been to concerts and festivals and been amazed at how much waste humans can produce, so its great to see something working in the right direction. If only all concert-goers were this mindful and respectful…

  2. Johnny B permalink
    March 13, 2012

    I love events like this! Milwaukee is a great place to educate the community on a greener lifestyle. There are a ton of musicians that are “green.” I found this site that supports eco friendly events. Check it out its called the Greenwashed Music Ritual.

    The Green Washed Ritual II digital music compilation features 10 amazing artists from around the world who have kindly donated one song each to promote sustainability. For every purchase on the BambooSK8 website, you will receive via email an access code for all 10 songs upon completion of the shopping cart purchase. As a bonus, you will also get the 20 songs from the first GWR compilation. Please help show your support of these bands by letting your friends know who you are listening to and purchase the bands records.

  3. July 24, 2012

    Great festival, it was fantastic the festival, if the festival repeats i will go :)

  4. Henrey Feyoal permalink
    January 17, 2014

    Thank you very much for publishing this kind of article. I like your article very much. I want share my website details to you please give me some information to increase performance like as your website

  5. Jaber permalink
    January 28, 2015

    I wish I was there :( Can you please create a playlist for what was played during the festival then share it here? You can do so here

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