Green Sheet Issue 27
Spring 2016
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Spring Green Sheet 

A new World Economic Forum report has calculated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish! 

This season our focus is on spring cleaning (and reuse and recycling) and celebrating Earth Day.

This spring we hope you will take some time to clean your house using greener products (see Eco-tips), try and reduce your use of plastics, increase purchasing of recycled or up-cycled items, and work to get greener by cutting paper usage, switching to a reusable backstage light, or getting educated about what world leaders are saying about climate change. 

We hope you will join us in turning off non-essential lights and electricity for Earth Hour, and take to social media for Earth Day to help us spread the good, green word. A full list of BGA icons for social media appears at the end of this newsletter. 

Plastic will likely outlive us all

We all live with plastic in much of our everyday life. But we know that our grandparents got along fine before plastic was everywhere. As Sam Harrington writes at the Ecovative blog "They’ve enabled great progress and convenience, but we’re only starting to understand the unexpected environmental consequences...The decay rate of most plastics is essentially unknown, because they have only been around for 70 to 80 years. During that time, no decomposition has been measured, because no organisms have evolved to effectively break plastic bonds.Typically cited rates for plastics ... to completely decompose are in the hundreds of thousands of years, but no one really knows." What's worse, we can't seem to confine it to landfills. It's all over the natural world from plastic bags stuck in trees to our ocean's plastic "islands." Just think, that plastic fork you just used for 10 minutes will outlive you! 
Ecovative produces, among other things, Mushroom Packaging which is a Styrofoam-like product made from mycelium (mushroom roots). It is used currently by Dell to package servers, and, as it is made of mushrooms, not plastic, it is completely biodegradable and would not even be harmful if ingested. While it is mostly for custom use by large companies they do offer a few retail samples at That's one way to start getting rid of plastic and other non-decomposing materials.


Go HERE for a full list of what the BGA accepts for re-use and recycling. Materials can be dropped off at the BGA office (Equity Building, Suite 1312) or we can do pick ups at stage doors or area offices. We collect: 

Batteries (regular alkaline or rechargeable)
Binders (between 1-3" in good condition)
Brita filters and pitchers (and dispensers and packaging; with TerraCycle
Cellphones (any kind, any brand)
Colgate Oral Care items (any brand of oral-care product; with TerraCycle)
Corks (any non-plastic ones for the non-profit, ReCork)
Electronic Waste (small items only in between our biannual drives)
Eyeglasses (and sunglasses, reading glasses, empty frames and cases)
Flowers (we can take them to be composted) 
iPods (or any brand music player for the Bway Alzeheimer's iPod Drive)
Lighting Gels (or scrollers to be donated to smaller theaters)
Personal and Beauty products (any brand, type; with TerraCycle)
Playbills (from any show collected to be made into paper flowers)
Stuffer slips (Playbill cast change notices for principal roles only)
Textiles (including towels, curtains, hats, belts, bras and torn or stained items)
Vases (any kind and any size to donate for reuse by Repeat Roses)


Chapter Reports:

Chicago Green Theatre Alliance

The CGTA is going strong in the windy city. They are about to hold their next meeting where committees will make reports, they'll hear from a guest presenter, and then hang out for a happy hour to network with CGTA colleagues. Meanwhile, spurred by the CGTA, the Theatre School at nearby DePaul University has started a Binder Exchange program based on ours.  The Chicago Binder Exchange writes: "Thank you [BGA] for setting the tone; we can do this! "

Off-Broadway Chapter

Our Off-Broadway chapter is putting its focus on closing greener. They are developing a survey to find out how Off-Broadway theaters dispose of their sets, props, and costumes and how we might increase the sharing of resources in the community. They are planning a gathering in September where more information will be available about the new BGA greening grants program. Stay tuned. 


Get out there and tell the world how green Broadway is!
Rachel Izen, our fabulous LES MIS Green Captain recently did a piece with Broadway World about how she greens things at her show and how she hopes to inspire audiences to go green too. Take a look at the piece here


Broadway Upcycled 

By Joseph Napolitano

The magic & creativity of  a greener Broadway turns guitar strings into bracelets, playbills into flowers, and trash into Tony Award-winning set designs. With roots in folk art, the use of salvaged materials deliberately raises the intrinsic and monetary value of recycled objects. It gives items a second life, and transforms the mundane into the extraordinary. Through the manipulation of forms, mass and surfaces, individuals craft waste into functional products and works of art. Popping up at events like BroadwayCon, and selling out at the Broadway Flea Market, crafters are now coloring the Great White Way green with special upcycled novelties unique to the theatre Industry.

Theatre enthusiast & librarian Ronni Krasnow creates “collage art with a theatrical twist" from Playbills, flyers and magazines ( Recycling breaks consumer materials down so their base materials can be used in new consumer products. Items that are upcycled are refashioned, but still maintain their characteristics.

While quite beautiful, the nature of upcycled work is inherently a political statement. For BGA member & communications guru Sasha Pensanti, it’s a lot of both. Sasha began upcycling while working on multiple Broadway productions. Show after show, she watched as Playbills were continually thrown away. Sasha decided to take it upon herself to make paper flowers from the discarded playbills. From there Ms. Pensanti developed a whole line of products: frames, jars for the flowers, canvases, hair clips/headbands … (

Similar circumstances precipitated collage artist Stephen Winterhalter (The Art of Broadway: to begin upcycling Playbills into works of art. Stephen’s work emerged when he wanted to do something with his enormous Playbill collection so they wouldn’t end up in the trash. “It started out as a small idea that just kept growing. By time the holidays rolled in I had over 100 orders,” Stephen said.

Read the full article, and see pictures of these artists' beautiful work, on our website here. Just search "Broadway Upcycled."  

The World Wildlife Fund's campaign to get the world to focus on climate change culminates each year in Earth Hour where they ask the world to turn off lights and electricity for one hour.  This year it is Saturday, March 19th from 8:30 - 9:30 PM.  We are asking all Broadway theaters to turn off their outside and marquee lights, and all Green Captains to encourage all cast and crew to refrain from any non-urgent electric use backstage. We hope you will join the BGA, our Green Captains, and Broadway theaters in participating in Earth Hour this year. Please take to social media to post a picture of you enjoying the dark.  Please tag BGA (see icons below) and  #EarthHour 2016.

Getting MINT-y green with help from the BGA 

The Mint Theater received a 2015 Off-Broadway Greening Grant from the BGA to create "greening welcome kits." They recently sent us their thanks with the above picture of the current cast and crew with their new greening kits.The kits contain a reusable tote bag filled with a mug and water bottle (with both the Mint and BGA logo on them) and were given to the company and creatives of their current production of WOMEN WITHOUT MEN by Hazel Ellis.

Cutting paper to get greener with Scriptopia 
Director Kay Matschullat has made it possible to get greener with your scripts.  "One day directing a rehearsal it struck me how much time, paper, and energy we waste distributing changes, inserting pages, and making new copies of scripts," says Kay. She has come up with a green solution that lets creative teams use tablets, smartphones, and laptops to conduct readings and rehearsals. Check out Scriptopia. With this program, changes can happen in real time with fluid communication among the artistic team as they hurtle towards performance. As Kay says, "We hope to make what's good for the earth, good for the artist." The Scriptopia app has some great features that make using mobile devices even better than paper, and with pricing starting at just $49 per project, everyone can now make "going green" a reality.  ​Case studies and stats on the savings coming soon. Kudos to the Scriptopia crew!​
Update: Banish Bite Lights Campaign
We just got word that the I-Sight, ear-worn LED lights are now back in stock. We are asking shows to stop using the disposable, plastic bite lights and instead invest in a re-usable backstage light. These are environmentally-responsible units with easily replaceable batteries that you don't have to put in your mouth (so they can be shared). The lights are available here: And, BGA members can get a 20% discount with the code BWAYGREEN.  Talk to Wardrobe about trying something new or talk to Company Management about purchasing these in bulk for the company. Any order over 100 units gets an additional discount.
 A Can-Can in Paris
COP21 and what it means for the arts is a new BGA Blog series written by Stan Friedman, called "An Oh-yes-we-can in Paris." Stan is reaching out to lots of folks to find out what the recent and historic, world-wide climate conference means to artists. More interviews and a cool video are to come! Check it out here


For spring cleaning it is important to think green-er. Many household products are toxic and can cause allergic reactions or poison the water when you rinse them down the drain. Our friends at the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) point out that phosphates, which are common in cleaning supplies, can "wreak havoc on marine ecosystems." They add: "By switching over to environmentally-friendly detergents and cleansers, we can avoid the negative impact on our waterways, and the internal air quality in the home."

Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a great list of recommend household cleaning products as well as a list of those it's best to avoid. For example many Lysol and Clorox products have ingredients that cause concern and have earned a D or an F from EWG for things like "acute aquatic toxicity" for ingredients like alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium.  Yet other Lysol products can be found on the recommended list along with brands like Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day, and Earth Friendly. EWG has done all of the work for you -- except the cleaning. Find the whole EWG list here.  

Further, when doing your cleaning, you can cut down on the environmental fallout by foregoing disposable cleaning supplies, such as paper towels. You can use any number of items, such as cloth napkins, sponges, old t-shirts or washcloths, cloth diapers, microfiber cloths, bar mops, or rags in their place.  There's even a product called "reusable food-service towels" that we found mentioned here. Once you are done using these they can be washed or finally tossed into textile recycling when at the end of their usefulness. 

When using finite, disposable objects proves unavoidable, make sure to recycle as much as you can. Check DSNY or your local recycling center to learn what you can and can’t dispose of in an environmentally-conscious way. For example, if you live in an area that has the DSNY compost pick-up, you can put any food-soiled paper, napkins, etc in with your compost. If you use an eco-friendly, non plastic sponge, those can go in and get composted too. 

Copyright © 2016 Broadway Green Alliance, All rights reserved.

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