Prior to the launch of the new recycling program, Waste Management provided on-site training for VTA staff members. Since the launch of the recycling initiative, VTA has been able to reduce their solid waste volume by nearly two- thirds, saving the organization nearly $5,000 a year in waste carting costs.
Roediger suggests that other presenting venues figure out how much they’re spending on waste and then figure out how much they can save by encouraging reuse and recycling. VTA utilized an intern to interview staffers about what environmental action they were already taking in their respective departments. Once the management team had an idea of what was already underway within their facilities and offices, they were able to make cost-effective investments in various recycling tools and signage. By amortizing recycling cans and signage, VTA ensured that green initiatives would pay for themselves.
In addition to their recycling efforts, VTA uses eco-friendly cleaning products and reusable cotton cloths for cleaning, prints publications on FSC-certified paper, offers filtered water in office and backstage areas to reduce bottled water use, and utilizes rechargeable batteries where appropriate.
VTA made sure to educate patrons and visiting artists about their new green practices – information about the company’s green commitment is included in curtain speeches, e-newsletters, and lobby video screens and signage. Says Roediger, “[Going green] matters to younger audiences. If we don’t do it, they will go elsewhere.”
Roediger noted how incentivizing employees can help drive participation in green initiatives. This summer, VTA will reward staffers who’ve taken green action by providing various gift cards and BGA-branded “We Went Green” reusable bags. Adds Roediger, “I hope the BGA inspires others to adopt green programs – we’ve already received ample community support for our green efforts.”
Written and Edited by Michael Crowley