Article Contributed by madison | Published on Tuesday, July 1, 2008

As leaders in the evolving art of sustainable large-scale event production, ROTHBURY is 100% committed to taking every possible step to reduce the environmental impact of the festival.  While such a commitment does not come without its challenges, ROTHBURY, together with local and national partners who share the same pledge, will indeed demonstrate the vast possibilities in sustainability and hopefully highlight those areas that need serious attention.

ROTHBURY, working with Green Chief Sarah Haynes of the Spitfire Agency, is the first major U.S. camping festival to aim for a near zero waste event by composting throughout the entire festival site. All disposable food service items have been replaced with plant-based compostables.  Compost will be pulped on-site thanks to Morbark, then processed by Spurt Industries in Grand Rapids.

In an effort to reduce plastic water bottle waste, ROTHBURY is working with Klean Kanteen to encourage crew and festival-goers to bring or buy reusable bottles and to take advantage of free refill stations in the campgrounds, within the festival site, and in the backstage areas.  For those who choose to buy disposable water bottles, the only front-of-house provider on-site will be Earth Water.  In passing up the big companies and going with Earth Water, ROTHBURY will contribute to building wells in refugee camps all over the world.  100% of Earth Water's profits go to building wells; and $500 builds a well.  That's a lot of wells!

For those darn bottles, ROTHBURY will offer 200 waste reclamation stations throughout the site, most of them manned by a 500 person green team of volunteers committed to helping avoid contamination. The Green Team will also work around-the-clock backstage to re-sort all recycling bags that come in. An additional 55 people will work for three straight days post event to sift every single 'bad' item out on tables, much like a conveyer belt system.

Additional ROTHBURY sustainability initiatives include the use of biodiesel.  ROTHBURY's local B99 biodiesel provider, Next Diesel, is the first company to be a part of Michigan Governor Granholm's green business incentive program. The biodiesel used by ROTHBURY is actually a waste product from manufacturing ethanol. So not only is it plant based, it is also recycled and on its second life at ROTHBURY.

In addition to offsetting carbon emissions with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, ROTHBURY has partnered with RVL 7 by RE: VOLVE Apparel, Black Rock Solar and Grand Rapids' own Bauer Power to create the ROTHBURY Solar Schools Program, to support the local community and honor our energy independence theme. The 2008 recipient of the Solar Schools Program, which donates fully installed solar panel systems to local area schools, is Michigan's Shelby High School. With many ROTHBURY attendees opting in for the festival's Green Ticket (which allows ticket buyers to contribute to the Solar Schools Fund), ROTHBURY's initial $50,000 donation is rapidly growing.  Many thanks to local heroes Bauer Power for offering to build for free so even more money will go to outfitting the school with solar power.

Part of ROTHBURY's objective and sustainability in general, is to support local companies and farmers and organic products whenever possible.  All foods collected in the Conscious Alliance Food Drive will be donated directly to local food pantries and charities to benefit neighboring communities and the on-site Farmers' Market will be powered by area farmers, who are also learning the benefits of organics and how to begin growing organics in their own farms.  To further promote the use of organic goods, RVL 7 by RE: VOLVE will provide all ROTHBURY staff with crew shirts made of a blend of organic cotton and recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or RPET, t-shirts. ROTHBURY has donated to Michigan's chapter of Global Re-Leaf, a tree planting organization that will plant trees in the Muskegon area following the event.

For those interested in taking a piece of this sustainability mission home with them, ROTHBURY is hosting on-site Think Tank panel discussions with some of the top thinkers in the field of Climate Change and Clean Energy.  Attendees are encouraged to take part in the discussions, help develop solutions, and start making changes at home.  The Better World Books bookstore on-site will be stocked with books that match ROTHBURY's ideals and will host signings by many of the participating panelists as well as Our Planet, a guide to saving the environment, created by MySpace.

While producing large-scale sustainable events is far from a perfect science, ROTHBURY is leading the mission to encourage discussion, promote creative thinking and seek new ideas in this effort - not to mention, throwing a serious party.