Live Nation wants to bring high-tech reusable cups to shows


Conscious effort to mitigate environmental impact or greenwashing? Time will tell us.
GIF: LiveNation

Live Nation, the company behind some of your favorite gigs, wants you to know it has a soul. The event promoter and venue operator pledged $5 million to TURN, an environmental startup, bring their high-tech and reusable cups at its events and shows.

What if I told you that the worst part of drinking at a concert is not really the overpriced and watered down beer, but the fact that the plastic cup you’re drinking from goes straight to a landfill after you dump it on the site floor? Good Live Nation, nicknamed one of the biggest live entertainment companies in the world, is trying to change that with a investment in reusable cups.

“By investing in TURN, Live Nation is able to make events at our venues and festivals more sustainable,” Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement. A press release. “By deploying real solutions at scale, we hope this will help the whole industry find solutions.”

Returning cups from TURN is quite simple: guests at a concert or event will receive a reusable plastic or aluminum cup, which can be replenished throughout the event. When ready to return their drinking vessel, spectators scan a barcode at the bottom and drop it into TURN’s collection bins. TURN will then wash the cups for reuse – the company claims on their website that their dishwashing technology is 700% faster than traditional dishwashers. Customers are encouraged to return the cup instead of bringing it home by receiving rewards on the TURN app when the cup is safe and sound in the collection bin.

Live Nation and TURN say that the system has already proven successful at festivals and concerts, having rolled out the technology at events like Bonnaroo in June 2022. In a case study of the Sea.Hear.Now festival in 2021, TURN reports that 31,000 cups were returned to their collection capsules at the end of the 2 day festival. Guests won entry into a $1,000 giveaway with every mug they returned.

The interesting part isn’t necessarily TURN’s technology, but Live Nation’s decision to invest. Tours and concerts are notoriously harmful to the environment, with everything from paper and plastic waste, exuberant lighting systems and tourist buses having their respective effects on the environment. As Live Nation, one of the biggest concert companies on the planet, pivots to invest in green startups, perhaps consumers should beware if this is a genuine commitment to offset their impact or if it’thats all for show.


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