HOW TO GREEN YOUR RIDER
If you are an artist, and you're reading this, most likely you have been in a green room and know they are often not green. However, you can make your experience a "greener" one by transforming your entertainment hospitality rider.
It's about health. Your health, the community's health, the planet's health. Your choices impact your body directly and they can also impact the collective body. Often what is not good for you is not good for society or the planet. "Health" has different levels. Our objective is to get you to think about healthier options not necessarily removing all items that may be perceived on some level as being "unhealthy".
And there are other benefits.
You can always contact us. It's a free service for artists. We are happy to look over your rider and send back suggestions.
Do it yourself. Here some tips:
THE TWO MAIN CONSIDERATIONS
We suggest you support brands you believe in. Perhaps it is time to re-assess your brand loyalty. Who are you supporting? Take a journey. Who are these companies? What is your product made of, and how is it made? Do they have any kind of corporate responsibility statement or environmental policy? You may find that you wish to support the same companies, or you may find out that you want to align your consumption habits with companies that are more in line with your values.
Because this article is about "greening" your rider, we do advocate for organic food or products that use organic ingredients. Organic is a specific term and, to our understanding, is still a regulated term (unlike other words such as "natural" which has no regulation). The idea behind organics is that organic food is not being sprayed by synthetic, petroleum-based pesticides and that, with produce, it is not genetically modified. Now when it comes to packaged food, there is leeway. If the product has an organic label it means that it is made with at minimum 70% organic ingredients. Unless the product says it is 100% organic, it only has to comply with the 70% standard.
At least there is a standard with organics. Choosing to support organics supports the organic growing movement, and minimizes you, your DJ parnter(s), band mates, management, and green room guests to exposure of residual pesticides.
Within your rider, you can make the switch to organic alcohol brands (there are many amazing organic vodka choices), organic juice mixers, organic wine or wine made with organic grapes, organic teas, and energy drinks, and organic food choices be they produce, meats, or packaged items.
Asking for local
Where are your brands from? Although it can be nice to support the organic movement, another way to green your choices are considering where the brands are coming from. For instance, you may like a light Mexican beer, but there may be fabulous light beers in the local town or city you are playing. Often communities take pride in products that come from their city and this is a way to support their local economy while also building camaraderie with your hosts and fans from that locale.
Is there a more eco-friendly or healthier substitute?
This question should lead your inquiry. What you will find is that there are a plethora of companies now that make all kinds of substitutes. Although we are not advocating for a switch to a vegan diet in this guide, if you have recently converted or were interested in exploring that option, you are in luck! It is a good time to be a vegan as the movement has grown and the options are abundant. We are not advocating for a vegan diet in this guide because there are nuances to veganism that would take another guide to go through and which are better addressed by doing your own, balanced research of those that take the vegan stance and those that do not.
Food is not all that is on entertainment hospitality riders. Perhaps you have asked for socks?! You could ask for hemp or bamboo socks instead of cotton. Or, perhas you have asked for a toothbrush? Be specific in your request and ask that it is made of natural, organic, or recycled materials. You can always request that the runner shop at a particular establishment that might carry the products you are asking for. They do not have to oblige you completely but they might, and if you're the star of the show they typically will.
What is exciting about modifying your entertainment rider is that you end up educating the runners about new options as well and may inspire a change in their choices causing a ripple effect that extends out to their circle of influence and on.
This may not sound like your concern, but it is. You have an impact with the requests you are making, especially with anything that is packaged. This could be bottled water or a bottle of vitamins. Although we advocate that you ask for a recycling bin in your green room, you should know if the venue actually recycles. The most responsible thing to do, if you found out that they do not, would be to figure out how your rider requests can be recycled anyway. Perhaps you have invited a local environmental group to table at the show, or you make a request to backstage fans. If you are unable to take on that responsibility, and you know the venue does not recycle, modify the amount of items associated with your requests. This will be explored below.
Per night Strikethroughs
Sometimes you will have items on your rider that are nice to have, like a toothbrush, in case you forgot yours or left it somewhere on your multi-day tour. Consider revising your rider per night. Do you need everything that you have asked for, again? If not, you can minimize product waste and the efforts and possibly use of fossil fuels by the runner who is attempting to fill your requests.
Don't get stuck on straws (it's all plastics)
Although the #PlasticSucks and #StrawsSuck movement is great and has many people taking action (thank you shout out to Calvin Harris for working with Hakkasan to reduce or eliminate straw usage), straws are only part of the problem. It's a starting point. The green movement needed to make a "splash" in consciousness, and it has been successful in stimulating conversation and action by focusing the efforts on straws. EMA has organized several beach cleanups, and so we know how prevalently strewn straws are on beaches globally. However, it's all plastics, especially one-time use disposables, that need to be minimized.
Look at your rider. Are you asking for water? If so, an even better option than asking for boxed water (as that is not always available) is to ask if the venue has filtered water available to fill up jugs you can pour from into non-disposable cups (glassware or reusable). If this is not available, or you are concerned about the quality of the water, then ask that the bought water comes in the largest size they have to avoid the packaging of many smaller units of water. You can also consider investing in your own personal filtration system that you bring with you on the road.
Does the food you request on your rider require plates? Ask for reusable plates (ideal). If resusable plates are not available and it's "finger food", ask for recycled napkins or recycled paper towels.
Do you ask for baby wipes? Perhaps ask that you have actual towels available to you instead.
Make it clear on your rider that you would like to avoid single-use, disposable items for plateware and cutlery. A statement of this sort puts the compliance of the request in their court. Instead of accommodating your specific idea, they may have their own creative solution.
Is the Promoter taking you out?
If the promoter is taking you out to dinner, you can "green" that experience by supporting a local restaurant (vs. a chain) that supports organic, permacultural, or regenerative agricultural practices (think farm to table restaurants). Even if you are not vegetarian or vegan, it can be fun to support these types of restaurants. Often vegetarian and vegan establisments make the commitment to use organic ingredients. If you are vegetarian or vegan or want to explore that realm, patronizing those restaurants helps strengthen the "veg" movement. Happy Cow is a great app to have on your phone. We have found it works well in most cities globally.
What else can you do?
Tell everyone what you're doing! Share your efforts on social media and inspire your fans. Take pictures of the amazing local items your hosts will find for you.
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