Nope, I’m not talking about covering Green Day, nor am I talking about terrible nausea that turns you green and—you know what happens next. I know you know what I’m talking about. It can be incredibly hard for a band to prioritize environmentally-friendly band life. You have to think about getting along with each other, actually putting out good music, booking your next gig, and staying sane. No small task. But still, if you’re in this for the long haul, you don’t want to be that band: the one showing no consideration for anything but your oh-so-basic band activities. Your band will feel a whole lot better if you do something besides care about yourselves.
Cut the Paper
There’s absolutely no need to print contracts and invoices and sign them like you used to in the 90’s. Paper consumption results in the loss of forest cover, which contributes to 12 to 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Ask for email copies of all contracts and make electronic invoices when you need to bill someone for your services. Use an e-sign service to sign PDFs and other docs. Digital signatures have the same legal validity in all 50 US states as paper-based signatures.
Cut the Water Bottles
Seriously, this is a big issue. While you’re on the road, gigging in town, and practicing, you’ll be tempted to drink water from plastic bottles because it’s convenient. But a lot of that plastic will end up in the ocean. About 8 million tons of plastic go swimming every year, never to come back, unless some poor marine animal ingests it and ends up on your plate. There are 500 million water bottles going to waste every year, and beverage bottles account for 14 percent of litter. Companies have to use six times more water than is in water bottles to make the bottles, and potable water is scarce in this world.
Cut the Gas
This is seriously cool, because you’ll save money while creating less carbon emissions. If your van runs on diesel, you can convert it to run on vegetable oil instead. You’ll emit up to 70 percent less carbon dioxide. Plenty of restaurants with deep fryers have to pay to get rid of the used oil, so they’ll give it to you for free. All you have to do is ask. And most bands are good at asking. Otherwise how would you get anywhere? And you thought your band was greasy already …
Oh yeah, there some other vehicle mods that will save you money and cut down on emissions. Put in a new intake, cat-back exhaust, strut bars, HID lights, and better tires. If you’re going to tour, why not do it right?
Be More Like Incubus
Um, this is probably the only time I’ll ever say this, but, yeah, be more like Incubus. Apparently, Incubus is making their t-shirts out of organic cotton and printing their posters on 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper with soy ink. Granted, soy can be a part of the problem, as big soy monoculture farms are responsible for deforestation. But if you get your soy ink from a sustainable source, that helps. In general, look for green ways to create merch, whether that means selling download codes instead of CDs or making clothes from recycled materials.