Music festivals often make headlines for the amount of garbage they generate, but Bonnaroo — an annual four-day festival held on a farm in Manchester, Tennessee — is making strides to change that wasteful image.

Plastic water bottles and disposable cups are some of the most common items that head to landfills at the conclusion of a festival, so last year Bonnaroo teamed up with Steelys Drinkware and the Plastic Pollution Coalition to launch Refill Revolution.

“Our research indicates that 100 billion disposable cups are used in the United States each year,” said John Borg, founder of Steelys Drinkware. “And, you know, when 300 million people repeat the same behavior over and over, it creates a lot of waste that’s unnecessary.”

Bonnaroo steel cupRefill Revolution is a program that aims to reduce Bonnaroo’s plastic waste by offering festivalgoers alternatives to disposable plastic bottles and cups.

The initiative involved the installation of water-refill stations where attendees could refill their bottles from on-site wells, which saved 400,000 water bottles from the landfill.

Another component of Refill Revolution was offering stainless steel reusable water bottles and cups at concession stands, and Bonnaroo estimates that it used 30,000 fewer beer cups last summer.

“So besides reduce, reuse, recycle, we added a fourth ‘R’ that is ‘refuse,’ and that is to refuse single-use, disposable plastic,” said Annie Farman, an ambassador for the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

This summer, Bonnaroo will offer the refillable water bottles for $5, and steel cups will be available for $15 each, which includes a beer, to-go carrying strap and a $1 discount on all refills.

The cups will also be offered during presale as people buy their festival tickets.

In addition to Refill Revolution, Bonnaroo has made numerous other green efforts, including hosting carpool contests and offering locally sourced farm-to-table dinners.

Also, a dollar from each ticket sold is put toward a permanent sustainable site improvement, which in the past has included solar panels, a compost pad and an on-site garden.

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