Recycling at Outdoor Concerts: Wecycle Has a Better Idea – PlanetSave

Recycling at Outdoor Concerts: Wecycle Has a Better Idea

It’s summer, and you are sitting outside on the Great Lawn of Central Park, listening to a concert in New York City.  You are surrounded by friends, you are enjoying a delicious picnic, and the music is great.  The only way to improve this event would be to devise a smarter way for you and the thousands of other people at the concert to dispose of the plastic cups they are using to drink beer, soda, and water.

Enter Emery Goossens and Evan Eichorn, two New York Univeristy college students. 

Concerned about the amount of plastic waste generated by outdoor concerts, they were looking for a way to offer more opportunities for concert-goers to recycle.  Unlike plastic bottles and soda cans, however, plastic cups traditionally have little or no value, and so recycling services do not offer to recycle them.  Emery and Evan needed to find another way to generate revenue to pay for the recycling of plastic cups, and they co-opted a traditional corporate path to make money: sell advertising space.  Based on this idea, they founded a business that combines recycling, advertising, and charitable giving. Wecycle sets up recycling facilities at outdoor concerts in New York City, and generates revenue by selling ad space on its recycling bins.  This revenue helps run Wecycle and pays for waste haulers to remove the plastic cups and take them to recycling facilities.  The co-founders also donate a percentage of their profits to a local food bank.

Wecycle set up its recycling bins for the first time last Sunday, at a Summer Stage concert in Central Park.  Several thousand people attended the concert, and many welcomed the opportunity to recycle their plastic cups.  “It went pretty well,” said Emery Goossens.  “The crowd was very receptive,” he added.

Emery and Evan are piloting their recycling plan at several other outdoor concerts in New York City this summer.  They hope to expand to more major cities by next summer.  So if you live in New York or in another large US city, look around for a friendly recycling bin.  Toss your plastic cup into the bin, and Evan, Emery and their colleagues at Wecycle will do the rest.


Photo courtesy of Emery Goossens.

About the Author

In trying to find the most effective way to help other people reduce their carbon footprints, Sarah turned to one of her favorite activities: writing. She started a green business,, to help her clients plan newsletters for their eco-friendly businesses. She also started her blog,, to provide useful advice to anyone who wants to lead a more environmentally friendly life. She also regularly contributes to, to let other Chicagoans know about eco-friendly stores, restaurants, and events. Sarah, an internal medicine doctor, works part-time in community health centers in the Chicago area. She graduated from Barnard College and Columbia University, and she lives in Evanston, IL, with her daughter and her husband. Stop by some time for some delicious, sustainable food--Sarah and her husband love to cook and entertain--any extras will end up outback in their composter.
  • people are always looking for ad space so why not on recycling bins

  • DFL

    And it’s great to find a way to be green that doesn’t cost extra. Now you can be virtuous and not have to pay for the privelege.

  • Adam

    It’s the small things that make a big difference. Thank you for this and keep up the good fight.

  • You know, it’s stories like these that make me feel optimistic. Thanks for sharing.

  • (answering on behalf of my 9-year-old son who can’t type very well):

    “They should have these in movie theaters because maybe then people would pick up thier trash.”

    Actually, he’s got a point. Advertisers could pay for a spot on the pre-show screens to promote the recycling bins outside the theater doors too.

  • Paula Fuqua

    This is the sort of creative thinking we all need to do more of every day to save the planet for our children and grandchildren!