Conscious effort to mitigate environmental impact or greenwashing?  Time will tell us.

Conscious effort to mitigate environmental impact or greenwashing? Time will tell us.
Image: Giuseppe Cacace (Getty Images)

Live Nation, the company behind some of your favorite concerts, wants you to know it has soul. The event promoter and venue operator has pledged $5 million to environmental startup TURN to bring its high-tech reusable cups to its events and shows.

What if I told you that the worst part about drinking at a concert isn’t really the overpriced, watered down beer, but the fact that the plastic cup you’re drinking from goes straight to a landfill after throwing it on the floor of the room? Well Live Nation, dubbed one of the biggest live entertainment companies in the world, is trying to change that by investing in reusable cups.

“By investing in TURN, Live Nation is able to make events at our venues and festivals more sustainable,” Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement. A press release. “By deploying real solutions at scale, we hope this will help the whole industry find solutions.”

Returning cups from TURN is quite simple: guests at a concert or event will receive a reusable plastic or foil cup that can be refilled throughout the event. When ready to return their drinking vessel, spectators scan a barcode at the bottom and drop it into TURN’s collection bins. TURN will then wash the cups for reuse – the company claims on their website that their dishwashing technology is 700% faster than traditional dishwashers. Customers are encouraged to return the mug instead of bringing it home by receiving rewards on the TURN app when the mug is safe and sound in the collection bin.

Live Nation and TURN say the system has already proven itself at festivals and concerts, having rolled out the technology at events like Bonnaroo in June 2022. a case study of the Sea.Hear.Now festival in 2021, TURN reports that 31,000 cups were returned to their collection capsules at the end of the 2 day festival. Guests won entry into a $1,000 giveaway with every cup they returned.

The interesting part isn’t necessarily TURN’s technology, but Live Nation’s decision to invest. Tours and concerts are notoriously harmful to the environment, with everything from paper and plastic waste, exuberant lighting systems and tourist buses having their respective effects on the environment. As Live Nation, one of the biggest concert companies on the planet, looks to invest in green startups, consumers should perhaps be wary if this is a genuine commitment to offset their impact. or if it’s all for show.