Award-Winning Take Note Initiative

Nov 13, 2023
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Green Team members sort through waste after a run of shows at Hayden Homes Amphitheater

Advocating for Sustainability One Note At A Time.

The Hayden Homes Amphitheater earned three sustainability honors from Live Nation’s end-of-season awards for its outdoor amphitheaters - 52 in total. Additionally, the venue was recently named Visit Central Oregon’s 2023 Sustainability Award winner.

“To be able to tread lightly and know we’re good stewards to the environment, and know that we’re creating a sustainable music environment is more important than any award.” - Marney Smith, General Manager

HHA won first place nationally for Live Nation’s “Highest Scrap Value Returned” - essentially, most aluminum cans recycled - as well as the top “Innovation Award” which celebrates venues “thinking outside the box” to improve waste diversion performance.

That award celebrated HHA’s “Trashy Golden Ticket” idea, which featured golden tickets thrown away or hidden around the amphitheater - stuck to a stray can, for instance - or among the garbage bins at every concert this season. Green Team members who found them were entered into a raffle for prizes.

The program was so successful, Live Nation intends to duplicate it at its venues across the country in future years to drive motivation and team morale among other Green Teams.

HHA’s overall recycling program also placed third nationally for “Highest Diversion Percentage” by diverting 78% of its waste away from local landfills.

Thanks to support from the amphitheater's official sustainability sponsor, OnPoint Community Credit Union, and a partnership with Visit Central Oregon, the amphitheater was also awarded for its inclusion of nearly 300 new bike parking spots this summer.

Green Team member and concertgoers talking through which receptacle to put waste in at a summer concert

“The amount of effort we put into sustainability is important for a lot of reasons,” said Marney Smith, general manager for the Hayden Homes Amphitheater and Old Mill District. “To be able to tread lightly and know we’re good stewards to the environment, and know that we’re creating a sustainable music environment is more important than any award.”

Smith pointed out that the venue has focused on sustainability since it opened in 2002. Nearly 10 years ago it committed to eliminating single-use plastic bottles, an industry decision well ahead of its time. Since then, the venue’s sustainability office and growing Green Team has worked diligently to reduce HHA’s environmental impact with water fill stations, compostable cups and utensils, cashless points of payment, an increase in bike racks, and visible and separate receptacles for recycling, compost and trash.

"Every single person is considered an ambassador of sustainability. It's fun to share tricks and tips to help people easily do the right thing." - Cassidy Cushing, 2023 Director of Sustainability

Who is this Green Team? You see them at every summer concert over the summer at the amphitheater. Members of the Green Team roaming the venue picking up trash and manning receptacles to help you figure out your waste. What’s recyclable? What’s compostable? Where's the food waste go? And what’s just plain ol’ trash?

It is a stellar team of about 130, roughly 115 were under the age of 18. The Green Team's efforts are a boon to local high school kids. “Having high school students involved in the process has been enormously helpful,” Smith said. “Their expectations of sustainability are ingrained in how they do everything in their life. There’s a lot of pride in the job they’re doing and they work really hard to help us get to our sustainability goals.”

The process works. And their hard work has been rewarded. Not only on a national recognition level, but for every hour worked, the venue donates at least $1 back to that student’s school. They haven’t tallied the 2023 numbers just yet, but in 2022 the venue was able to donate more than $28,000 back to Central Oregon schools.

Members of the Green Team sorting through waste in a kiddie pool to ensure everything goes to its proper recycling place, compost, donated or to the landfill.
No piece of waste left unturned. The HHA Green Team sorted through 160,000 pounds of waste in 2023.

Overall, the venue has more than 800 employees throughout the season working various front and back of the house positions, said Cassidy Cushing, the Old Mill District’s sustainability manager in 2023.

“Every single person is considered an ambassador of sustainability,” Cushing said, adding that prior to the season everyone gets a crash course on the Green Team’s efforts and is shown all that goes into the sustainability program. “And their eyes open real wide when they see all that we do.”

Cushing said the awards and recognition are great, but the Green Team gets more excited about the fact some of the processes happening here are getting picked up at venues nationwide.

“It’s way cooler seeing processes being shared by other venues and spreading awareness across the board,” she said. “It’s fun to share tricks and tips to help people easily do the right thing.”

Photo of a waste station in the venue during a show with Green Team staff and Hayden Homes Amphitheater stage in the back.
In 2023 HHA diverted 78% of concertgoer waste from the local Knott Landfill

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