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Rock the Green: A Sustainability Festival Like No Other

Music festival leverages zero waste efforts to promote sustainable living

MILWAUKEE – (Sept. 1, 2017) – Each year, award-winning music festival Rock the Green calls the community to its environmental mission with a world-class sustainability festival. This year’s event, featuring headliner Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Barns Courtney, Mondo Cozmo and more along with local and organic cuisine and a wide variety of zero-waste efforts, will take place at Reed Street Yards in Milwaukee on Sept. 9.

Rock the Green envisions a way to ensure a lighter eco-footprint by utilizing holistic production methods that focus on zero waste. Opportunities for recycling, composting, reduction of materials and reuse are prioritized in all planning aspects of the festival.

“Our goal is to lead by example to educate and empower the community on ways to incorporate sustainability into their daily lives,” said Lindsay Stevens Gardner, founder and executive director, Rock the Green. “Every small sustainability step adds up to a significant impact. With the contributions of our sponsors, partners and attendees, we’re excited for another opportunity to raise awareness of this critical cause.”

Complete the zero waste loop

Waste reclamation, recycling and composting are key aspects of the festival’s zero-waste efforts, supported by several providers. Volunteers will monitor bins labeled Compostables, Food and Organic, Mixed Recyclables and Landfill at waste reclamation stations to help attendees properly sort their waste. As everything provided at the festival is either compostable or recyclable, landfill bins will be used only for things attendees have brought with them. Compostable materials will be processed by Compost Crusaders and Blue Ribbon Organics. Food and organics will be processed at our Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) food grinding stations. Mixed recycling will be handled by Advanced Disposal and any traditional landfill waste will be sent to the waste-to-energy plant at Covanta, resulting in 100 percent diversion from landfills.

Eco-Champs provide eco-education

Rock the Green is hosting local environmental non-profits to showcase environmental education to event attendees in the Eco-Champs area, including: Beevangelist, Clean Wisconsin, Friends of Hank Aaron, Interfaith Earth Network, Milwaukee Bike Collective, MMSD, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Reflo Sustainable Water Solutions, Respect Our WatersSweet Water, Teens Grow Greens, Urban Ecology Center, WasteCap, Wisconsin Clean Cities, Surfrider Foundation and Groundworks MKE.

All banner material is made from high-density polyethylene HDPE, which reduces the carbon footprint of the signage by 80 percent. Big Systems of Milwaukee used a large format sign take-back program offered by HP Eco Solutions to recycle the banners.

Rock out with eco-friendly water options

A Rock the Green ticket includes a free, refillable aluminum water can from Canned Water 4 Kids. Free and freshwater stations from Badger Meter using filtered municipal water will be located throughout the event, and no plastic water bottles will be sold.

Reed Street Yards, the location partner of Rock the Green, contains a state-of-the-art water filtration demonstration project. This water feature pumps dirty canal water through a Watertronics Portable Ultra-Filtration unit, aerates it through a series of cascading streams and delivers clean water back into the Menomonee Canal, cleaning 15,000 gallons of water each day.

Light it up with alternative power sources

The festival is powered by a combination of B20 biodiesel generators, solar power and bicycle power. LED products are being used to both minimize stage lighting energy consumption and power the video screen. An LED Jumbotron, provided by Mindpool Live, will project the live musical performances in addition to environmental education videos from festival partners. LED lights will be provided after sundown to minimize energy consumption.

The festival uses generators fueled by bio-diesel in the stages and interactive areas. WE Energies is the presenting sponsor of the behind-the-scenes Zero Waste Tour that attendees can take at the festival to learn about its eco-friendly production practices.

The Pedal Power Stage Presented by Responsible Battery Coalition will be run on bicycle power supplied by local cycling teams. The Eco-Kids Stage will be powered by solar energy brought to the festival by Arch Electric.

Test out greener transportation

There are a variety of eco-friendly options available for attending the festival. A free bike valet is provided by the Milwaukee Bicycle Collective. Bublr Bike share stations are located throughout the city, with a location next to the festival grounds at 2nd Street and Freshwater Way, in addition to Milwaukee County Transit System stops throughout Walker’s Point. New this year, festival parking will be provided at Oregon Street and 3rd Street, which can be purchased for $12 in advance at or for $20 at the festival. Various ride-share programs, like, can help festivalgoers reduce emissions by carpooling. New Uber users can travel to the festival and receive a discount using the code FALL2017.

The festival will run from 2 to 11 p.m., and features acts Reyna, Baio, Mondo Cozmo, Barns Courtney, Girls Rock Milwaukee, Evan Christian Band, Devil Met Contention, Klassik, D’Amato and headliner Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals.

Tickets are $50 for general admission (free to children 10 and younger) and $100 for VIP admission, which includes premium viewing, nearby restrooms, food and beverage amenities and mini-spa treatments.

Stay up-to-date on all things Rock the Green on social media:

Visit for tickets and more information.

About Rock the Green

Rock the Green is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering the community to take actionable steps to live sustainably. Rock the Green accomplishes its mission through engagement and entertainment. Leveraging near-zero waste efforts, Rock the Green produces engaging events with a minimal eco-footprint. Rock the Green educates through example, through spotlighting other environmental leaders in communities and by sharing experiences and eco-education with our fans. For more information about Rock the Green, go to

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