The St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s inaugural ‘Green Hands Initiative’ has turned out to be a success, and the Amphitheatre is continuing to add to the conservation efforts.
The Green Hands Initiative is a commitment made by the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division, which owns and operates the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, to establish and maintain operating practices that align with the mission of conserving valuable resources and reducing unnecessary waste within the industry, the community and the world.
“I am so proud to have the opportunity to help facilitate such a challenging and important Initiative,” said Megan Murphy, Green Hands coordinator. “It is a necessary responsibility to care for the spectacular region and community that takes such good care of us here at the Amphitheatre. What an incredible thing it is to be able to enjoy your favorite band play in one of the most beautiful venues and proudly know you have had minimal to zero negative impact on the local environment.”
In 2016, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre integrated a number of energy and waste reduction practices including the One Less Plastic Bottle Program, which eliminated the use of plastic water bottles throughout the venue. Six filtered water refill stations were installed at the Amphitheatre for public and backstage usage; concessions transitioned from selling plastic bottled water to boxed water; and BPA-free Green Hands Nalgene refillable water bottles were made available for purchase. Patrons were encouraged to bring their own non-metal water containers to shows as well.
The impact of these changes resulted in a total of 26,530 disposable water bottles being eliminated and 42,520 boxed waters were sold at concessions in 2016. Additional changes included the use of reusable Green Hands totes for all hospitality shopping needs, eliminating the use of plastic bags, the installation of food waste composting bins, a venue garden that utilizes the nutrient-rich compost soil and a transition to energy-saving LED lighting backstage.
The Green Hands program also hosted many free community events aimed at educating the public about environmental and conservation issues.
This year, the Green Hands program has committed to implementing even more ambitious conservation practices which include, but are not limited to, the following:
· The completion of LED transition throughout the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.
· A venue-wide transition to BPI-certified biodegradable plastic ware.
· A transition to BPI-certified biodegradable cleaning supplies.
· The implementation of a carbon footprint tracker as progress is made toward the goal of being carbon neutral.
Green Hands has also joined hands with neighboring elementary school R.B. Hunt and the Anastasia State Park to help them implement their own sustainability practices.
This year also marked a major development for the Green Hands Initiative as it welcomed a new community partnership with St. Johns County waste disposal, collection and recycling services provider Advanced Disposal Services, Inc. As the official community partner, Advanced Disposal committed $75,000 over a three-year period to the Green Hands Initiative.
For additional information on the Green Hands Initiative, visit www.staugustineamphitheatre.com, follow Green Hands on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greenhandsfla or stop by the Green Hands table at the next concert event.