Coachella is always thinking of clever ways to make us pick up our damn trash. Their bright-colored, well-labeled trash and recycle bins are everywhere. And in the past, any do-gooder or broke festival goer could pick up a standard amount of 10 water bottles to trade for a new one to sip on. But this year, the eco-minded folks at Coachella figured out how to play on our sense of capitalism and test our physical endurance. And, in my case, it tested the desire to walk away with a $25 Coachella t-shirt without paying a dime. This year, a few days before I arrived in Indio, I noticed that there was this new challenge where if you recycled loose bottles and cans, you could take home prizes--including said t-shirt.
It seemed like a good idea to meander throughout the grounds and do everyone a public service by literally picking up their recyclable garbage. Others, though, had their eyes on bigger prizes, like a Coachella sweatshirt (800 water bottles) or even VIP upgrades (1800 water bottles!) for this year and the entry to a raffled to win wristbands to next year's extravaganza.
As Walter Sopchak so eloquently put it in The Big Lebowski, "This isn't 'Nam, there are rules." That held true for this competition as well. There was a no dumpster diving, which on top of being gross, was a grounds for disqualification. Only items on the field were fair game. The same goes for the separation between garbage collected in the campgrounds versus the venue. No crossing the streams.More »