The KettleHouse Amphitheater is implementing vigorous environmental policies to go green. (Photo Credit: Logjam Presents).

Logjam Presents teamed up with local counterparts in Missoula, Mont., to reduce the city’s carbon footprint a whopping 90 percent by 2050.

“It’s an ambitious goal,” said Nick Checota, owner and operator of Logjam Presents, which is a private entertainment company that owns and operates three venues in Missoula — The Wilma (1,500 capacity), Top Hat Lounge (600 capacity) and the KettleHouse Amphitheater (4,000 capacity).

Logjam will start its green initiative in phases, with the first phase starting this December and with full implementation by Jan. 31, 2018.

“First and foremost, our customers are demanding it,” Checota said. “They are requiring and asking us to be a greener organization.”

It’s all part of the Zero by Fifty initiative launched by the city of Missoula in partnership with the Missoula Compost Collection and Logjam Presents.

“For the Missoula-based owners of Logjam Presents, success is measured in many ways, including ensuring that our economic prosperity doesn’t come at the cost of our quality of life. This partnership is a big leap for Missoula, and I’m grateful that the community’s vision gets closer to reality every day.” Missoula Mayor John Engen said in a statement.

Not only is Checota listening to customer and city demands, he also feels a moral obligation to keep the community healthy and waste free as his businesses grow.

“It’s personally something I feel that we should do in the organization. I’m the primary owner. I don’t have a lot of red tape to go through,” he said.  “Moving to compostable cups and compostable water bottles and compostable straws is the low hanging fruit if you will.”

Finding 100 percent compostable water bottles has been the biggest challenge and were the most expensive to replace. Going green does generate extra costs, Checota said, but it’s well worth it, especially from a customer service and marketing standpoint.

On average, plastic water bottles cost roughly 10 cents a unit, he said, and the new compostable water bottles run 60 to 70 cents. The compostable cups weren’t as bad with a roughly 15 percent increase in cost, Checota said.

He doesn’t anticipate absorbing those costs by raising prices, but instead he wants to see how the first year goes.

Checota estimates that it will cost him roughly $20,000 extra a year to implement many of the changes, but he looks at it also as marketing money he’s invested into his venues.

“I look at this… we’re doing the right thing and it’s a marketing expense,” he said.

According to the press release, the first phase includes:

• Implementation of a compost program that includes the elimination of all plastic single-use cups, plastic water bottles and plastic straws at the three Logjam venues. All will be replaced with 100 percent compostable products that Missoula Compost Collection will deliver to Garden City Compost, the City of Missoula’s compost operation. Additionally, the Top Hat Restaurant and Bar will work with Missoula Compost to dispose of food waste from the restaurant and kitchen into the composting facility.

• Deployment of a broad recycling program.  All serving cans and carry-out containers will be separated at the venue and will be transported by Missoula Compost Collective to Pacific Steel Recycling and Republic Services.

• Implementation of a reusable cup and bottle program at the venues. Customers at the Wilma and KettleHouse Amphitheater will have the opportunity to obtain a Klean Kanteen reusable cup that can be used for all beverage products sold at the venues.

“Missoula Compost Collection is excited to see Logjam Presents take on this project. They will be the first prominent restaurant and music venues in Missoula to compost their serving ware and kitchen waste through our services,” Missoula Compost Collection Owner Sean Doty said in a statement. “This is going to be a positive change for the future. Thinking back to some of the first shows I saw in Missoula 15 years ago, we drank out of disposable cups and they are still sitting in the landfill, most likely unchanged. This is huge for the community of Missoula and its goal of reaching zero waste by 2050.”