Plastic Cups

Expanding Plastics

This post comes to you from the Broadway Green Alliance
Expanding Plastics

Mayor Bloomberg at the press launch of Broadway Goes Green.

Mayor Bloomberg at the press launch of Broadway Goes Green.

by Noah Aberlin

Get ready to add all rigid plastics to your recycling bin-

NYC has expanded the residential recycling stream.

On April 24th Mayor Bloomberg announced that NYC will now recycle all rigid plastics. These newly included items go in the same clear bag or blue bin where all glass, metal, aseptic packaging (juice boxes, soy milks), and plastic bottles currently go.

Rigid plastics include yogurt cups, toys, hangers, cookie tray inserts, plastic cups, food containers, and more. Bloomberg said at a press meeting, “Starting today, if it’s a rigid plastic – any rigid plastic – recycle it…This means that 50,000 tons of plastics that we were sending to landfills every year will now be recycled and it will save taxpayers almost $600,000 in export costs each year.”

This announcement coincides with the development of the new recycling plant being built by the Sunset Park waterfront in Brooklyn, which will be the largest household recycling plant in North America. Because it takes 70 percent less energy to make plastic from recycled plastics instead of raw materials, it’s going to help further reduce the city’s carbon footprint. New York City will not only become more sustainable but will also create 100 jobs at the new plant. Plus, it will be powered by one of the largest solar installations in the city.

Keep a lookout for new recycling decals and posters that should be mailed to residences soon and remember it is recommended that New Yorkers should rinse out all containers before sorting them in recycling bins. While these new rules do not effect commercial recycling (i.e.: at the theatres) they do include the new Solar Big Belly public recycling bins that have been sited around town. There are 30 in the Times Square area so please seek them out and use them.

To recycle plastic bags, many supermarkets and drug stores have special collection bins. Film plastic (plastic wrap) does not recycle.

For more information and a detailed list of all recyclable materials visit


The Broadway Green Alliance was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) is an ad hoc committee of The Broadway League and a fiscal program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Along with Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, the BGA is a founding member of the International Green Theatre Alliance. The BGA has reached tens of thousands of fans through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media.

At the BGA, we recognize that it is impossible to be 100% “green” while continuing activity and – as there is no litmus test for green activity – we ask instead that our members commit to being greener and doing better each day. As climate change does not result from one large negative action, but rather from the cumulative effect of billions of small actions, progress comes from millions of us doing a bit better each day. To become a member of the Broadway Green Alliance we ask only that you commit to becoming greener, that you name a point person to be our liaison, and that you will tell us about your green-er journey.

The BGA is co-chaired by Susan Sampliner, Company Manager of the Broadway company of WICKED, and Charlie Deull, Executive Vice President at Clark Transfer<. Rebekah Sale is the BGA’s full-time Coordinator.

Go to the Broadway Green Alliance

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The big idea? Get lost

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Joan Littlewood

Wallace Heim writes:

Seminars about sustainability and the arts often, usefully but repeatedly, focus on energy use and material consumption. A public conversation at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, ‘What’s the Big Idea?’, organised by Creative Carbon Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh, nodded to the material imperatives –  the plastic cups – then shifted the discussion to the processes of making theatre that don’t fit with the accountancy of sustainability, to the unintended consequences of sustainable decisions, and to the need for sharing more technologies more widely.

The conversation opened with provocations from Erica Whyman, Artistic Director of Northern Stage, and Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust, chaired by Harry Giles, Environment Officer of Festival Edinburgh, and hosted by Ben Twist of Creative Carbon Scotland.

A phrase from Whyman recurred throughout the discussion. She quoted theatre director Joan Littlewood speaking about how to make theatre, and how to challenge the hierarchies in power: ‘We must get lost if we are to make a new route.’

Whyman compared ‘getting lost’ to the need in theatre production for not adhering to absolute objectives, whether financial, material or ideological. The question, for Whyman, is not why more artists don’t make work about climate change. Artists make the work they want to make; they are not essayists or teachers. Rather, artists get lost, and create something that surprises.< The surprises, or unintended consequences of working within financial constraints have meant theatres having to work with different economic models. Whyman’s example was Northern Stage’s decision to group together artists, makers and staff in accommodation in Edinburgh for their series of productions at St. Stephen’s church. Inadvertently, they created a commune, a creative and powerful way of working together as a team. These aspects of consensus and democracy are forgotten, according to Whyman, in the accountancy of sustainability and in the apocalyptic narratives of climate change. Alderton spoke of the need to look for the wider questions behind the requests for the artistic community to recycle or use less energy.  Every company working with the Pleasance plants a tree in Scotland. This is a trade. Theatres are places of trade, artistically and materially, and need to share their technologies, be less possessive about their productions and share ideas. ‘Getting lost’ figured in many of the audience’s questions. If theatre productions set the conditions for the audience to get lost in finding a new route, and organisations set the conditions for productions, how do directors and curators more immediately set the conditions for artists to ‘get lost’ in creating new work about sustainability or the climate? Why might artists not be willing to engage with, get lost, in the scientific and the political aspects of climate change? How can artists be encouraged to hold contradictory ideas in tension in creative ways, like the tension between where we are now, and where we could be heading? Too, there were questions about the relation between theatre and the public; about whether theatre should teach; about audiences’ carbon footprints and whether the arts world had responsibility for audiences' travel.

The slight change of perspective connected the achievement of carbon reduction figures to the relations and effects between material use and communal, artistic and intellectual change – a viable new route.

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.

The Directory has been live since 2000.

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