Berkeley Rep seeks to model responsible environmental behavior that is in harmony with the Theatre’s core mission. We wish to help create the framework within which the arts industry as a whole can shift towards practices that can contribute to the sustainable development of art, the earth, and mankind. We seek to promote the understanding of sustainability to our staff, audiences, and other arts organizations and to be a leader in environmental protection. Berkeley Rep’s Green Committee was founded during our 2007–08 season to begin this “greening” process. Please refer to the highlights tab to track our progress.
As a green organization we will
- Promote principles of energy and resource efficiency
- Use products from local sources and more recycled, recyclable, biodegradable, and sustainable materials
- Exercise practical applications of waste reduction and pollution prevention
- Maximize the proper disposal of materials including composting and recycling, collaborating with current waste disposal programs
- Provide a healthy workplace with minimal environmental impacts
- Encourage and provide resources for our audience to utilize environmentally friendly transport
- Reduce emissions from all Theatre-related activities and decrease our overall footprint
- Become certified as a Green Business (looking into LEED certification, Bay Area Green Business, ISO certification)
- Plan for all future building projects to be LEED-certified
- Be advocates in our industry for sustainability and green practices
- Continue to find solutions and pursue short- and long-term environmental protection
- Educate others about ways in which they can be greener and provide a forum to continue the conversation
We intend to encourage our staff and audiences to be responsible green citizens and we endeavor to work with partner organizations that share our green values. It is our intention to operate our business in an as environmentally friendly way as we can.
It’s about our artistry.
It’s about our industry.
It’s about our environment.
It’s about Berkeley Rep.
Highlights of Berkeley Rep’s green initiative
- We now compost four yards a week (that’s cubic yards of waste not heading into a landfill but rather coming back to gardens and communities in an altered form).
- We recently had to increase our commercial recycle bin size because we’re recycling much more than ever before—and that’s a trend we intend to maintain.
- We’ve replaced a large percentage of the Theatre’s usage of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents and/or LEDs where possible, thus reducing energy consumption. The bulbs also have a much longer life span, which reduces waste. Incandescent bulbs are about 90 percent heat and 10 percent light. Compact fluorescents and LEDs are much more efficient, utilizing 75 percent less energy and creating 75 percent less heat.
- We’re constantly monitoring our paper usage and trying to use less. For our copy machines, we have switched to 30 percent recycled paper. By making that switch, assuming 24 trees go into making one ton of office paper (and with 40 cases per ton), we’ll save an additional five trees a year. And our goal is to keep using less and less paper.
- In our scene shop, we’re using FSC lumber (http://www.fscus.org) whenever possible. We build the set frames out of steel because the steel frames, compared to wood, are easier to recycle and re-use—and you’re not cutting down a tree.
Easy steps you can take to “green” your organization
In 2008, Berkeley Repertory Theatre was asked to “present” at national industry conferences about how the theatre is heightening our institution’s “green awareness.” In response, we developed the following starting points and are making some big efforts toward accomplishment of these goals within our theatre. Feel free to plagiarize, as many of these suggestions will be applicable to your organization. And please note that as an audience member you can help us by taking public transportation and using compost and recycling bins provided by the theatre.
Create a green policy statement to guide decision-making and communicate values and goals
- Create board and/or staff committees—to evaluate organizational practices and green alternatives.
- Research—some changes can be costly, however some can even save or make money.
Green the office and the box office
- Paper—choose products with a higher recycled and post-consumer recycled content. Look for ways to reduce the amount of paper, packaging, and shipping.
- Tickets—use a lighter ticket stock and purchase materials made from recycled content.
- Go ticketless—use electronic ticket vouchers. Consider paperless online ticket exchange, and paperless subscription processing online to reduce your material needs and to create a lower transportation impact.
- Copying / Faxing—convert your faxes to deliver by email. Set copier to PDF if available.
- Email—distribute agendas, newsletters, audition information, and meeting materials online.
- Printing—use soy based or reduced chemical content ink. Set printers and copiers for 2-sided printing. Reuse paper before recycling. Reduce printing by editing as many drafts as you can electronically.
- Shipping—use compostable packing peanuts and recycled content paper for wrapping.
- Create opportunities—make sure recycling bins are visible throughout the public areas and all offices are equipped. The more visible, the more useful.
- Compost—see if your city has a composting program so you can put your paper and food waste to good use. Encourage employees to start composting at home. Compost paper food containers, paper towels/napkins, paper coffee cups, unpainted wood, yard clippings.
- Recycle—many things are recyclable now: paper, steel, paint, plastic bags, bottles, cans, old marketing materials, unused programs, Styrofoam, compact disks, and cardboard.
- Hazardous waste—properly dispose of electronic equipment (“e-waste”) and chemicals. Check your local regulations for proper disposal and recycling centers.
- Audience / Employee travel—encourage audience to take public transportation. Distribute alternative travel information, or car-pooling programs.
- Company travel—consolidate theatre errands as much as possible, consider an organizational membership to a car share organization. Look into hybrid donations. Lessen air travel.
- Computers—set computers to go into sleep mode after 15 minutes of inactivity.
- Shut down—turn off appliances, televisions, and computers for longer periods of inactivity.
- Create a system—have equipment on power strips to turn off at the end of the workday.
- Batteries—go rechargeable! Saves money and waste.
- Lighting—purchase energy efficient LED theatrical lighting equipment.
- Recycle the show—look for local opportunities to recycle your production materials. Store and reuse what you can. Consider a local rental program.
- Green building materials—look into Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified and other “sustainable harvest” lumber. Look for less/non-toxic supplies. Always protect employee health and safety during use of toxic materials.
- Concessions / Special events / Food service—purchase local, organic, or sustainable products. Buy in bulk. Work with caterers and vendors to be environmentally conscious and to take back packaging for reuse. Email invitations and provide online RSVP services. Replace plastic with compostable plastic cutlery. Use recycled content and unbleached paper towels, napkins, and plates.
- Lighting—install energy efficient lighting when possible. Use occupancy sensors and energy conservation light bulbs where possible. Talk to your local electricity provider about your options to go solar.
- Get meters—monitor water and energy usage rates and create guidelines and expectations for reasonable use.
- Cleaning products—use certified “green seal” products or those that contain environmentally friendly chemicals. Use biodegradable soaps in bathrooms.
- Restrooms—use recycled content and unbleached paper towels and toilet paper.
- Water filters—replace large bottled water dispensers with water filters at the sink; replace bottled water in meetings with pitchers of water.
Green web resources
- This is a CEO-led, global association of some 200 companies dealing exclusively with business and sustainable development. The Council provides a platform for companies to explore sustainable development, share knowledge, experiences and best practices, and to advocate business positions on these issues in a variety of forums, working with governments, non-governmental, and intergovernmental organizations.
- This is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff Project exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. (A little long and certainly one sided, but very interesting.)
- This is the organization that put together the LEED certification. They have set the standards for US green building practices.
- A partnership of environmental agencies, professional associations, waste management agencies, utilities, and a concerned public working together to recognize and assist businesses that operate in an environmentally friendly manner. Has a listing of Green businesses in the Bay Area, criteria for how to be listed as a Green business, and a lot of resource links.
Other theatres and theatre groups across the country are also taking steps to create responsible, sustainable green programs for their companies.
- Wolf Trap is America’s National Park for the Arts in Vienna, Virginia.
- Broadway Green Alliance is an industry-wide initiative to educate, motivate, and inspire the theatre community and its patrons to adopt environmentally friendlier practices in theatrical production and everyday life.
- Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company is an Equity theatre company in San Diego.