The Greenhouse is the UK’s first zero-waste theatre. What exactly does that mean for us? What are we doing now, and what will we strive to do in the future, to ensure we are upholding a deeply and radically sustainable practice?
To us, zero-waste means we strive to never purchase anything new. Everything that we use has had a life before we use it. To be more specific, all of the materials we use are purchased either second-hand or as surplus. We are never the first point of purchase for a material. And whilst this applies to our venue, it also applies to everything we do in our venue too. That means everything from our marketing materials to our set, props, and costumes all follow this zero-waste standard.
Using materials sustainably isn’t just about sourcing them second hand. It’s also about knowing what’s going to happen to that material once we finish with it. When we’re done with a material, we first try to re-use it within The Greenhouse. If we can’t re-use it and we need to get rid of it, we first try to donate it – to charities, artists, non-profits, or businesses. In the very worst case scenarios, if neither of those steps are possible, our final port of call will be to recycle the material – we strive to ensure that none of our materials end up in landfill.
Finding the Energy
It’s just as easy to waste energy as it is to waste any other resource. In general, The Greenhouse is completely naturally lit, and we don’t use any electricity. However, we do use electricity when we’re working with partners that draw their energy from renewable sources – like Canary Wharf in 2021. We’re also excited be exploring alternatives to this and hope to generate our own energy to power our productions renewably by 2024.
Nobody’s perfect. But we’re trying to get as close to perfect as possible. Starting in 2022, The Greenhouse will be publishing an annual emissions and wastage report, to be as transparent as we possibly can with our commitments and accomplishments. What’s more, we have a lot of exciting sustainability ambitions over the coming years, to continue leading the way in sustainable creativity.