The Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater is going several steps greener.
The entertainment group that manages the summer shows at the venue on the ocean will no longer offer plastic straws and is phasing out plastic cup lids, and all left-over food at the end of each show is donated to a group in need. In addition, recycling containers can now be found throughout the theater grounds.
Live Nation Entertainment announced the start of the new initiatives at more than 45 of its amphitheaters across the country. In collaboration with a not-for-profit called Lonely Whale, Live Nation will discontinue the use of plastic straws and lids at all of its outdoor venues in order to reduce the harmful environmental impact of plastic products. Lonely Whale is a sustainability organization committed to reducing the amount of plastic that enters the oceans each year.
“We hand fans beverages without a straw, and upon request, they are then handed a paper straw,” said Live Nation sustainability manager Lucy August-Perna. As well, fans now receive their beverages without lids. According to the facility’s general manager, Adam Citron, there have been no complaints thus far.
“I love Live Nation’s new policy,” Citron said. “Our feelings are that enjoying your drink without a straw is a small change, but a large step in reducing the amount of plastic we produce and waste. The little changes we each make will collectively make a bigger difference to help protect our environment …”
According to get-green-now.com, paper straws, unlike plastic, are biodegradable, and therefore less harmful to the environment. It can take a plastic straw up to 200 years to decompose.
“We adopted the straw-by-request-only policy because we still want to follow the hierarchy of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’ where ‘reduce’ always comes first,” Citron said.
The collaboration aims to promote Lonely Whale’s “For a Strawless Ocean” campaign. According to the organization, more than 500 million plastic straws are used each day. They are often not disposed of properly, and many eventually end up in the oceans, where, as they break down, they can be fatal to marine life, and especially to seabirds and turtles. Plastic straws are among the items most frequently found during beach cleanups. Live Nation estimates that the change will eliminate the use of more than three million plastic straws at events at Live Nation venues nationwide this summer.
The Jones Beach theater hosts as many as 40 concerts throughout the warmer months.
New recycling bins — which will inform guests which waste, from cans to cardboard, goes in which bin — will encourage them to be more environmentally aware, for a good cause. “All the money redeemed from recycling the cans is donated to cancer research,” according to Citron. To further lessen the carbon footprint, the theater donates all leftover food to Rock and Wrap it Up!, an organization dedicated to donating prepared but unserved food to those in need and preventing it from ending up in landfills.
“@LiveNation is teaming up with sustainability non-profit @LonelyWhale and has committed to reducing our environmental impact by ending the use of plastic straws in 45+ of our amphitheaters across the United States #StrawlessOcean. Great cause & just the beginning of our efforts,” tweeted Michael Rapino, the president and CEO of Live Nation.
In a news release announcing the collaboration, Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale, said, “To help articulate the complex issue of plastic pollution and to provide a clear roadmap to impact for both individuals and organizations, we knew we needed to start small, with the single-use plastic straw. ‘For a Strawless Ocean’ sets a new standard in ocean health advocacy by empowering all to improve the health of the ocean through a simple, clear call to action and easily implementable toolkit.”