Usana Goes Green

More venues are greening up and, for United Concerts and their Salt Lake City Usana Amphitheatre, the catalyst was the environmentally minded Jack Johnson.

Before Johnson agreed to perform at the venue in 2005, he requested to review United Concert’s environmental policy, according to the Deseret Morning News. His inquiry prompted United Concerts to employ some of Johnson’s suggestions full time.

United Concerts’ Teresa Mooney was instrumental in putting it together with the help of Utah Valley State College.

Turns out, UVSC’s Earth Science Department came up with a four-step plan for the amphitheatre. Mooney told Pollstar the first two steps will start up this summer with the rest going into effect next season.

First off is concessions. All Usana F&B will use recyclable and biodegradable materials. But most of the waste management groups in Utah don’t handle recycling in such bulk.

"We do up to 20,000 people on one night and that can generate quite a bit of paper products, waste paper," United Concerts VP David McKay told Pollstar. "So it’s a big challenge."

Students from UVSC will create a "green team" to help educate concertgoers about recycling and how to use the recycle bins.

McKay and Mooney also want to encourage concertgoers to carpool and are looking at various enticements. They also want to reduce CO2 emissions for the various buses and trucks that visit the concert site. The last step is all about water – looking into low-flow toilets, drainage and watering the lawn area.

"It’s very expensive to be green these days. We’re finding that to be true but we feel as though it’s a step in the right direction," McKay said. "Hopefully it will have a positive impact that people can go away from the show and be a little better educated on what they can do on their own at home."

McKay said United Concerts’ 1,200-capacity Depot is next on the list.

"Right now we’re just concentrating on the amphitheatre," McKay said. "It’s really our first goal. We gotta try to take baby steps here. It’s a big issue."