Doing More for People & Our Planet


We want Gem & Jam to be a role model in the event industry by considering the impacts and issues associated with our event and working to minimize them where possible. Gem & Jam aims to be a positive example of conscious business practices and take advantage of the opportunity to transfer these principles to our staff, attendees and greater AZ community.


Gem & Jam will address our biggest weaknesses and our biggest opportunities related to sustainability. We will create a team dedicated to these issues and work systematically to improve our efforts each year while working diligently to exploit the knowledge transfer opportunity to extend our efforts beyond the event. Gem & Jam believes that it is important to contribute to a world where environmental, societal, and economic qualities exist in balance to meet the resource needs of today and of future generations. Fundamentally, we recognize that we contribute to society as an event of social and cultural celebration. Therefore, we believe it is important to lead and educate by example while inspiring people to become active and do more to benefit this world.


The sustainable development principles by which an organization stands

Environmental Values

  • Total Waste Reduction/Diversion
  • Water Conservation
  • Reducing Carbon Emissions
  • Being a good environmental steward to our property and Tuscon

Social and Cultural Values

  • Ensuring the safety of our team and attendees
  • Community engagement with AZ Organizations
  • Create educational opportunities via workshops
  • Institutionalize sustainability culture through staff, volunteer (green team), and messaging initiatives


  • Focusing on partnerships with local businesses
  • Purchasing decisions related to:
  • Fairtrade/labor standards
  • Ethical businesses
  • Environmentally friendly products
  • Using sponsors that have defined CSR/Sustainability policies

Resource Reduction

Events are small cities. There is no getting around the fact that we create waste. However, we can all do our part to make sure we create the smallest amount possible and divert as much of the total waste from landfills. We are enacting policies to limit the waste from purchases, vendors, and sponsors. We are asking for your help to reduce even more waste.

Refill. Reuse.

  • Let’s face it, single-use water bottles are wasteful and almost totally unnecessary. Bring a canteen or hydro bladder and take advantage of one of the multiple purified water stations on site. Do us a favor and leave the bottled water on the shelves where it belongs.
  • Vendors will allow CLEAN plates, bowls, and cups to be used for food and drink at the festival. There are great, compactable kits from almost any major outdoor retailer that you can get and use over and over again. This is a great practice to incorporate into your life. When you get done eating simply wash your food wares at one of the local bathrooms and it is ready to be used again. NO WASTE!

Landfill Diversion

A major initiative for us is to divert as much waste from landfills as possible. This will be the second year we have measured total waste, compost, and recycling and we want to make progress towards “Zero Waste”. Waste Busters will be helping manage this effort for 2020 as a part of this effort.

Putting waste materials in the appropriate bins depends on all of us working together to think before we toss. Here are some reminders on what goes where.


Due to global market forces, many common recyclables are not being accepted in Tucson at the moment.

Separate aluminum cans and plastic bottles in the blue recycling collection bins throughout the site and in blue bags at your campsite. Only #1 PETE plastic beverage bottles and aluminum cans can be recycled. Cardboard can be separated, broken down and stacked near bins for easy management and recycling.

Paper, glass, Styrofoam, plastic containers, packaging and plastic bags cannot. Help out by avoiding these materials and bringing beverages in aluminum cans only. Unpackage what you can before coming to the venue.


We are working with The Recycled City Composters to get our organics turned into organic fertilizer for local AZ farmers. All food scraps and used napkins can go into the compost bins. Paper plates, cups, compostable utensils, and any other organic waste can go in the green compost bins. Vendors are using compostable products for food and beverage service, which can all be composted!

Please be sure to keep any glass, plastic and anything inorganic out of the green bins.


If it can’t be avoided, recycled or composted, place it in the landfill collection bins throughout the site or in a clear bag at your campsite to bring to a collection station.

Styrofoam, plastic packaging and containers including any bags, wrappers, straws or other single-use plastics should go in this bin.

Foil, glass, paper, and some other items that are recyclable in many places must go into the landfill this year since there are no local recycling options. Avoid it, pack it out, or put it in a landfill bin.

For our full recycling guide, click here.

Carpooling to Gem and Jam

The largest environmental impact of events has to do with the number and distance of people traveling. One way to have a significant impact on these emissions generated is to connect with each other and carpool to the event. This year we have partnered with Ridevu to make linking up as easy as possible.