A look into one of the aspects of the festival that many times is overlooked by the sea of fans flocking to see great bands play-and that is the organizers have made a concerted effort to minimize the carbon footprint that is left when staging a huge event like this. Making her contribution to that cause is Julie Atherton of h20 Natural Spring Water-and her willingness to discuss her reason to be.
Julie-it looks like you've help green out Lolla for the 20th Anniversary edition.
Well I've helped...I've certainly helped. They've had such a huge carbon footprint with the massive amounts of bottled water which is consumed in years past-they've reduced that significantly since going with h20. The relationship started a couple of years ago after I contacted them. It was one of those things-because they were actually looking for ways to green the festival not used in the past. We came along and it was just perfect and we just tried to figure out a way to make it work. They are wonderful to work with and we hope to be here again next year.
First year vs. second year-what type of improvements did you make to the program this time around?
I mean everything is a learning curve...but this year we were able to better focus on how much is going to be used-the timing of everything and logistics. Certainly, I don't have to do anything with recycling-waste management-handles all of that. And Chicago is a wonderfully awesome green city anyway so I don't have to do much. Sometimes I might have to ask how they are going to be handling the recycling-but again waste management handles everything from sorting to recycling-that's it-so everybody else is just enjoying their h2o.
For the layperson-not familiar with greening efforts-how might one know that an event like this is being greened?
First of all-the entire festival is trying to have this Rock and Recycle Program-so they have a bunch of people walking around and picking up after everyone. You notice you don't see a lot of trash around-even though there is a lot of people. They are immediately walking around picking up trash, bottles and h2o for recycling. There definitely is a concerted effort to reduce the usage-but I think the number one thing we're here to do is reduce what would normally be mountains of plastic bottles at the end of the festival. We have cut that down certainly 90%. And because we are here there's no plastic bottle water sold on the premises. There's going to be 200-300KK people over the weekend drinking water-not in plastic bottles and now that they are not-that's a big deal. And hats off to C3-the people putting on Lolla-who had that thought to want to make a big impact on reducing the carbon footprint.
What makes the packaging for h20 so much better than traditional packaging?
Our packaging is much easier to dispose-you can flattening it down taking up less room than packaging isn't of similar materials. If it ends up in a landfill-not to say that it will-but if it does it will degrade over time-taking up less space. A plastic bottle is going to be more difficult to dispose and every piece of plastic like that-ever made-is still on the earth. It never degrades-taking a 1000 years to start breaking down. Now it might be in another form-in pellets or something but it is still floating around somewhere here on this earth and that's a scary thought. 38 Billion bottles end up in landfills each year.
So this h20 bottle we call our 'paper bottle' is made mostly of paper-so there's a little bit of plastic for the top and outer laminate and that's it-while still being sleek and sexy. We're making green convenient and cool. So for people who want to have a bottle of water to walk around with-this is an easy choice for them to make. The price point is about the same for any premium spring water at about $1.39 for a 16.9 oz bottle.
How did you get involved with and have access to the water?
The water is from a really high quality spring in Ontario, Canada-just right here across the pond. And they were the only supplier who could bottle the water in this package. So that's how it worked out. The paper bottle is the #1 thing-but the fact that we also have great water inside it the other best thing. The water is bottled right on site-so we don't have to ship it in from other places. And unlike other plastic bottle container with issues of BPA-you can leave our water in your car and not have to worry about the potential for chemical contamination. It's a healthy choice. It's a greener choice. We just want to be a part of the process.
Hats off to Julie for having such a great idea to help the environment. And the water actually tastes good-so go out and buy some the next time you get tempted to buy water in that plastic bottle!
For further information you can find h20 on Facebook or even better visit www.h2ospringwater.com. And the water can be purchased at Miejer stores here in Chicago.