Sustainability: Greening the Festival

The end of single-use, plastic water bottles!

It’s been a goal of ours for years to end single-use plastic bottles at TMY. But producing a free festival for the public isn’t free for us, and the sale of water has long been one of our main revenue sources. While in the past we put out recycling bins for all those bottles, the bottles often got contaminated (with food waste), which meant some 10,000 bottles went instead to landfill. We could not risk that again. Changing this “tradition” in a way that wouldn’t bankrupt us has been a challenge, but this year we are proud to finally be making the shift. It’s the right thing to do, as stewards of culture and the planet. 
How it works: 

  • Refillable stations called “Water Monsters” will be located throughout the festival grounds. 
  • Bring your own reusable water bottle from home and refill it for free. 
  • Or purchase a TMY reusable bottle and refill it for free. 
  • Feel good about keeping another plastic bottle out of the landfill, the ocean, or an imperfect recycling system. 
Composting festival food waste

We’re teaming up again with University of Arizona’s Compost Cats (back in action!) to compost festival food waste. In past years, we diverted 35% of food waste from the landfill and helped create compost for local agriculture. 

Compost Cats focuses on organic waste diversion, community outreach, research facilitation, and public education. Its mission is to promote environmental justice, create high-quality compost, mitigate climate change, and increase food security in our local community. 

How it works: 

  • Look for Compost Cats waste stations throughout the festival.
  • Dump your food waste and compostable plates into the Compost bin.
  • Put plasticware and non-compostable items into the Landfill bin
  • Feel good about turning food scraps into new food sources, beneficial ground cover, and “black gold,” nutrient-rich soil for use in gardens and agriculture. You’ll also be helping to reduce methane emissions, which occur when organic waste decomposes in landfills. Yay!
As always, all aluminum cans properly disposed in recycling bins will be recycled by the City of Tucson.

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