Volunteers Sorting Waste


Pounds of Waste Diverted from Landfills Since 2011


% Average Landfill Diversion Rate


Together with our partners at Zero Waste Event Productions, we work hard each year to reduce our footprint, educate our attendees about sustainability, and provide a greener festival experience.

Since 2011, the Nelsonville Music Festival has operated under Zero Waste principles, meaning that we aim to divert 90% of all materials generated and discarded during the event from the landfill through reuse, composting or recycling.


How do we achieve Zero Waste?


Nelsonville Music festival encourages Reuse. The beer garden sells reusable cups that attendees use throughout the weekend and then keep as souvenirs. Inside the festival grounds there is a water bottle refill station with a water filter, so attendees can stay hydrated and avoid single-use water bottles. In 2023, Water refill stations helped keep an estimated 270 lbs of plastic bottles from entering the waste stream. Reusable cups for use at bars saved approximately 458 lbs of plastic cups from entering the waste stream.


Each year about 40% of the waste generated at Nelsonville Music Festival is composted. This is achieved by having vendors sign a contract to only use compostable serviceware. From straws to coffee cups everything can go back to the earth. In 2023, 3,111.6 pounds of compost from the festival was taken to Athens-Hocking Organics.


Between 35-45% of waste material generated at NMF is recyclable. This is mainly water bottles, wine bottles, cans, ice bags, and aluminum and tin from the food vendors. The 2023 festival produced 1,820.9 pounds of recycled material.

A Culture of Awareness:

We’ve created a culture of awareness! Since Zero Waste began their work with The Nelsonville Music Festival they have been inside the festival grounds talking with attendees and making waste reduction part of the culture. After more than a decade of efforts, attendees now expect waste reduction. They sort their waste both in the festival grounds and at their campsite, helping our efforts in making Nelsonville Music Festival a clean and sustainable event.

The Campground Effect:

Since 2015, we have been working to increase diversion rates in the campground, where we have less control over materials that are brought, and then discarded. Consistent campground recycling and compost initiatives have diverted 13,707 lbs of waste over the past 5 festivals.

Zero Waste Event Productions LLC is a social enterprise helping festivals to decrease their environmental footprint by diverting waste from the landfill through waste reduction, recycling and composting.