Five hundred million.
That’s how many plastic straws are discarded very day in the United States alone, according to The Last Plastic Straw.
It’s enough to wrap them end-to-end around the earth’s circumference two and a half times every day. And over the course of a year we’re talking 175 billion straws.
So when organizers of the River City Roots Fest decided to eliminate straws from their beverage service last year, it was a demonstration of how simple solutions can make a big dent in complex problems.
And the straw ban was itself just one piece of a larger “green” initiative undertaken by the folks who put on Roots Fest. We’re excited to see they’ll be adopting their Climate Smart strategy again this year.
So while you won’t see straws, you WILL see ample all-in-one recycling bins set up throughout the festival. You’ll see drinks being served in reusable commemorative cups as opposed to disposable ones.
And if you pay attention, you’ll also see reps from Climate Smart Missoula working to keep the streets and sidewalks clean.
Behind the scenes, festival organizers have partnered with Missoula Food Bank to recover and redistribute unused food and drink. And both the stage on Main Street as well as the food court on Ryman are considered “carbon neutral,” meaning all energy used – including that used by each band to travel to the event – will be offset with the purchase of carbon credits.
But while we appreciate all their efforts to keep the festival green, there’s a lot we attendees can do as well.
That starts by walking, biking, carpooling or taking the zero-fare Mountain Line bus service to the event. Parking’s going to be a nightmare anyways, right?
Other small steps you can take to contribute to the big effort:
- Bring your own water bottle for the refilling stations at the Missoula Downtown Association tent
- Patronize the many Missoula businesses dedicated to climate action and sustainability
- Keep trash to a minimal, and be sure to separate out any recyclables before throwing it away
- Consider powering down your home while at the festival
Roots Fest is one of our favorite events of the year – a chance to dance in the streets with friends, loved ones (and sometimes strangers), a chance to enjoy the best food and drink in Missoula, a chance to forget about the smoke for a day or two and enjoy one final hurrah before the doldrums of fall start to set in.
But great fun also means great responsibility – so keep it safe, keep it clean, and keep it sustainable, so we can continue to enjoy events like this for generations to come!