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SPAC concertgoers will be asked to recycle trash

SPAC concertgoers will be asked to recycle trash

Don’t throw that wine bottle in the trash after your lawn picnic during the ballet.

Don’t throw that wine bottle in the trash after your lawn picnic during the ballet.

This year, glass and plastic bottles and aluminum cans will fill recycling bins at Saratoga Performing Arts Center instead of overflowing from trash cans, president and executive director Marcia White announced Wednesday at the organization’s annual meeting.

In SPAC’s first-ever recycling effort, bins will be available throughout the premises to collect cans and bottles, White said.

And for the first time, smoking will be curtailed on one section of the lawn.

Lighting up is currently prohibited in the amphitheater, and for this summer’s classical season the center lawn section also will be designated “no smoking.”

Small signs in that area will outline the new policy, which is on the honor system.

Concert promoter Live Nation will continue to allow smoking on the entire lawn at rock concerts.

For Live Nation concerts, the recycling program will be tailored after the company’s “Green Nation” program, which includes about 30 markets with amphitheaters.

Green Nation is in its second full year, said John Huff, Live Nation’s general manager for events at SPAC.

Concert venues have come late to the recycling movement, Huff acknowledged. “The focus is on the stage. The focus is on the show.”

Live Nation has carefully chosen bins that look like recycling containers so that people notice them and put bottles in them instead of trash.

As part of the new recycling program, SPAC vendors also will recycle cardboard, which previously was thrown away.

“Our location in the beautiful Saratoga Spa State Park is one of the assets that makes SPAC such an exceptional arts venue,” White said. “Yet, our location also makes us acutely aware of the need to protect and preserve the environment.”

White estimated that more than 300,000 people visit SPAC every summer, attending both classical performances and Live Nation rock concerts.

That means hundreds of thousands of bottles are discarded every year, she said.

Live Nation bought about 70 beverage recycling containers that will be placed throughout the venue.

The cans, bottles and cardboard will be removed and recycled, White said.

SPAC will remind people to recycle with signs in the venue, e-mail messages, a note on the Web site and messages on video screens at SPAC.

Volunteers on a “Green Team” also will make the rounds and pick up recyclables.

The new recycling program complements other “green” initiatives SPAC started in the fall, including coaxing people to join e-mail lists instead of having SPAC information mailed to them and using recycled paper for brochures, publications and posters.

Since October, 1,138 people have signed on to SPAC’s e-mail only list.

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