Port Townsend Going Green Initiative
Awardee: Port Townsend Main Street board members Kris Nelson, Kevin Prime, Amy Howard, and Wendy Duede
Award: Sustainable Future
City: Port Townsend
Port Townsend Main Street Program’s hosts its popular Concerts on the Dock summer music series on Thursdays in July and August, bringing over 400 people downtown each week. The event features local beer, wine, and cider – always a crowd favorite!
Inspired by Northwest Maritime Center, which uses mason jars at their own major event, Port Townsend Main Street researched options for making reusable drinkware available to concert-goers. The board invested in the program in 2017 by purchasing 1,000 stainless steel cups for beer. Steel isn’t ideal for wine and cider, so local pottery studio, LaughinGnome, was contracted to make reusable pottery cups to add to the collection. They donated 200 and the Main Street program purchased an additional 45.
Attendees can rent a cup for a $5.00 deposit, which is refunded at the end of the night when they return it. Main Street volunteers and staff rent out the cups from the information booth and the beer garden itself, and also wash the cups after each concert.
The stainless-steel cups and pottery cups were hugely popular! Port Townsend is an environmentally-minded community, and in previous years, thousands of plastic cups, which are not recyclable in this county, were used at the concerts. While free plastic cups are still available, the majority of the public chose to participate in the rental program.
Darby Huffman, owner of LaughinGnome, also expanded on the concept by providing a portable water system every week. This effort further reduced the event’s reliance on plastic cups and water bottles. The Main Street program plans to continue the successful program in its coming seasons of Concerts on the Dock.
Port Townsend’s ‘going green’ initiative capitalizes on a Main Street principle that incremental projects can make a big difference.