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Music festivals require both spectacular feats of organization and gargantuan levels of resources. Like with cruise ships, food, water, restrooms, activities, and more have to be arranged for tens of thousands of people eager to have fun in a confined space.

And like a cruise ship, the environmental impact of a festival can be significant — think of a field strewn with empty beer cans, food containers, and receipts.

At Global Citizen, we’re committed to minimizing our environmental impact as much as possible — and this year we’re taking our sustainability measures to a new level.

Take Action: Take the Plastic Pledge: #UnplasticthePlanet

Here are eight ways we’re making the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York City’s Central Park sustainable.

1. Vita Coco is offsetting the festival’s carbon footprint

With climate change accelerating around the world, it’s important to pursue alternative sources of energy and to offset greenhouse gas emissions whenever possible.

Vita Coco Coconut Water is helping to make the Global Citizen Festival more sustainable by fully offsetting the festival’s carbon footprint this year.

Carbon offsetting measures are diverse and include protecting forests, providing efficient cooking stoves around the world, capturing methane at emissions sources, and more. Vita Coco is looking to invest in local projects in Indonesia, where the company sources ingredients. The coconut water brand is currently working to lift 1 million people in coconut farming communities out of poverty through its Give, Grow, Guide program, and this offset initiative fits into that larger goal. 

Read More: Why Global Citizen Is Campaigning to Reduce Plastic Waste in the Oceans

2. On-hand recycling experts and incentives for recycling

Recycling experts from Global Citizen and GrowNYC will be on hand to answer any questions about recycling, collect plastics, and help manage the overall recycling experience. Global Citizens attending the festival will also be given the chance to collect plastic bottles to retrieve awards, such as t-shirts

PepsiCo is providing soft drinks, water, and snacks throughout the day to festival goers and will be assisting in all recycling efforts. Flow Hydration Artisanal Water, which uses sustainable packaging that minimizes plastic, will also be providing free water to select fans during the day.

At the end of the festival, members of the social justice nonprofit Sure We Can, which employs homeless people throughout the city, will help pick up leftover bottles.

Global Citizen recently launched the #UnplasticthePlanet campaign to reduce global plastic waste, especially when it comes to marine litter. Up to 13 million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, and this casues immense harm to marine life. By reducing plastic production and properly recycling all single-use plastics, this pollution can be curbed. 

3. Zero waste initiative

Global Citizen is committed to producing as little landfill waste as possible. To that end, we’ll be collecting compost throughout the day, food containers will have stickers reminding people to recycle them, and the general recycling initiatives will ensure that no plastic is left over.

A lot of materials at the festival will be made of plastic, but our teams of volunteers will be working to ensure that all plastic is recycled.

Read More: 9 Tips for Turning Your Front Yard Into a Farm

4. Reusable water bottles and totes

Global Citizen-branded Camelbak reusable water bottles will also be on sale throughout the day, and a select number of free bottles will be provided to attendees.

We’ll also be selling reusable totes that you can carry your merch in and then use when you go shopping in the future to avoid plastic bags.

5. Water stations

To hang out on the Great Lawn for six to eight hours, you’ll need to stay hydrated and we’ll be providing water stations in each of the pens to make sure you don’t always have to buy another disposable bottle when thirst strikes.

6. No plastic straws / reusable straws available for sale

Global Citizen has never provided single-use plastic straws at the festival, and this year we’re going one step further by selling stainless steel reusable straws.

Read More: 7 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Plastic Straws to Help Save the Oceans

7. Sustainable food options

Over the years, we’ve strived to source better, more nutritious ingredients for the festival’s food options. This year there will be even higher-quality grains sourced from sustainable, local farms.

8. Responsible merch

The Global Citizen merch on sale at the festival will be made from ethically and sustainably sourced materials.

Read More: Does Recycling Your Clothes Actually Make a Difference?

More than 60,000 people will gather on Central Park’s Great Lawn on Sept. 29 to celebrate some of the best artists performing today and advocate for an end to extreme poverty. During the day, landfills will receive more trash, fossil fuels will be burned, and plastic waste will be generated, but the Global Citizen team will be doing its best to make sure these environmental impacts are as close to zero as possible.

You can join us in creating a sustainable festival by taking action here.

The 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York will be presented for the very first time by Citi. MSNBC and Comcast NBCUniversal will air a live simulcast of the Festival on MSNBC and MSNBC.com. The Festival will also be livestreamed on YouTube and Twitter, presented by Johnson & Johnson.

Proud partners of the 2018 Global Citizen Festival include Global Citizen’s global health partner and major partner Johnson & Johnson, and major partners P&G, CHIME FOR CHANGE Founded by Gucci, Verizon, House of Mandela, iHeartMedia, and NYC Parks. Associate partners include Microsoft, Great Big Story, and One Championship.


Defend the Planet

8 Ways We're Making the 2018 Global Citizen Festival Sustainable

By Joe McCarthy