BEND, OR -- Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater kicked off its summer season last weekend with a new sustainability initiative. Noelle Fredland, with the Old Mill District, says food and beverage vendors are now using a corn-based compostable material for food and drink containers. "You cannot purchase a single-use plastic water bottle or soda bottle in the venue. Plastic is contaminating every facet of our earth and a lot of the artists are very, very much against this. There’s a huge opportunity for us to eliminate plastic; there’s a lot of other alternatives."
Fredland tells KBND News visitors are encouraged to utilize reusable beverage containers. "We have installed a new water filtration system and additional drinking fountains. You’ll be able to actually fill up your water bottle and see how many plastic bottles you’ve kept from the environment." Concert-goers can also purchase reusable pint glasses for beer and cider, which can be used all season for discounted refills.
Recycling, waste management and composting is now provided by The Broomsmen
, a local group promoting zero waste events throughout the area.
Aside from being better for the environment, Fredland says the shift is good for business. "It’s an important step, as a venue. And, the artists, themselves, are also demanding venues become more sustainable. We’re the only privately held venue in the state of Oregon. So, when we’re up against other large venues, the more we have on our side it helps them choose us; and that’s what we want in the long run." She acknowledges becoming zero-waste may not be feasible, but the long-term goal is to become as sustainable as possible.