Depeche Mode’s Arena Shows to Eliminate Single-Use Cups in Sustainability Pilot Test

Artistes Arena in Los Angeles is pilot-testing a new waste diversion initiative at the arena’s upcoming two-night run for Depeche Mode on Dec. 15 and 17.

The program, held in conjunction with reusable cup manufacturer r.World, could help divert hundreds of thousands of single-use cups out of local landfills and eventually serve as a staple sustainability initiative at the AEG-owned facility, which is widely recognized as a leader in the live entertainment business’ efforts toward long-term sustainability.

As part of the program, Arena and its janitorial servicer, ABM, will work with r.World to receive and distribute 13,000 beer, cocktail and soft drink cups around the arena. On the nights of the Depeche Mode performances (the shows are promoted by Live Nation), the cups will be utilized by the arena’s bar, beverage and concessionaires to serve drinks to attendees, who will then dispose of the cups in specially marked bins staged around the arena. At the end of the first show, the cups will be collected by r.World staff and taken to a nearby cleaning facility where they will be washed and returned to the arena for the second night. The cups ultimately stay in the system for two years.

The program, explains Arena president Lee Zeidman, was inspired by Depeche Mode’s long-running commitment to environmental and sustainability initiatives. “Commencing with the electrifying Depeche Mode concerts, our aim is to ignite a wave of positive change and rally our audience and partners to actively participate in shaping a more eco-conscious future,” he tells Billboard.

Last year, a similar pilot program was launched by AEG-owned Goldenvoice with r.World to eliminate plastic cups from its Cali Vibes festival in Long Beach, Calif. Following the pilot, Arena will evaluate the data from the two concerts and, if the program is successful, will look to collaborate with current or future partners to make r.World a full-time option to guests and fans in the future. 

“We believe that there’s going to be less labor needed in terms of cleanup and the cleanup crew, and we believe we’re going to have lower waste disposal fees,” Zeidman says. “We also believe that people will embrace this opportunity to keep single plastic waste out of the stream and perhaps buy more beers or Cokes.”

In addition to Los Angeles, r.World boasts industrial “Wash Hub” facilities that also service Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. To meet market demand for reuse, the company plans to expand the program to eight to 12 more cities in the next 24 months.

“We’re excited to work with Arena — as one of the busiest venues in the world, the positive environmental impact potential of reuse is massive,” said Michael Martin, r.World founder/CEO. “They’ve led the industry and operated in the most environmentally innovative ways since opening in 1999, and so it’s no surprise they’re launching the pilot reuse program in the LA market and ultimately, driving change across the live events industry.”