Sound: Green Practices in Theatre Part 5
Sound design can go green, too. Reducing your production’s electronic waste can save money and reduce the use of hazardous materials.
Using rechargeable batteries can save money, reduce waste, and reduce the use of hazardous materials. Consider switching to rechargeable batteries in wireless microphones and other equipment requiring the use of batteries. Include rechargeable batteries and charging sleds in bids wherever possible.
Case Study: Wicked
“Wicked” switched from using disposable alkaline batteries to nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeables in all of their wireless microphones. They alternate between two sets of rechargeables to allow sufficient time for recharging. These two sets of batteries last the production ten months on average, at which point they are recycled. The previous disposable alkaline batteries required 38 AA batteries per show, resulting in the purchase and disposal of 15,808 batteries each year. Switching to rechargeable batteries cut this down to 96 NiMH batteries each year, saving more than $22,000 over five years. The rechargeable batteries are also mercury-free, cadmium-free and lead-free. They are in compliance with the European Union’s RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) standard for electrical and electronic equipment.
Whether your production is using rechargeable batteries or not, all batteries should be collected for recycling. Work with your show’s Green Captain to set up bins in convenient and clearly marked locations to collect used batteries for recycling. If your show uses both disposable and rechargeable batteries, be sure to include separate collection bins for each type of batteries.
Consult the Electronic Waste section below for information about responsible battery recycling. The BGA operates a collection bin for both re-chargeable (recycled through Call 2 Recycle) and regular (recycled through 4th Bin) batteries at their office.
When batteries, computers, and other potentially hazardous electronic wastes are improperly disposed, they can pose significant risks to public health and the environment.
Choose an e-Steward electronic waste recycler to ensure that your electronic waste is being properly recycled. By choosing an e-Stewards® Recycler, individuals and businesses are choosing the most trustworthy recyclers, ones that have been independently verified to handle e-waste in the most globally responsible way — using safe technologies and careful protections for workers.
Check with the e-Stewards Recyclers in your area about recycling your e-waste. For a list of e-Stewards Recyclers and more about e-Stewards Certification, see www.e-stewards.org.
e-Stewards Certification is the only marketplace solution supported by the environmental community and the most responsible electronics recycling companies. It was created to be both principled and practical, and it joins other best-practice certification programs such as those by the Marine Stewardship Council and Forest Stewardship Council, as the most protective standard and the most rigorous program for verifying recyclers are doing things right.
ELECTRONIC WASTE RECYCLING COLLECTION DRIVES
The BGA hosts two e-waste recycling drives annually in Times Square to collect used electronics from Broadway shows and venues for recycling by an e-Stewards certified recycler. If you are unable to find your own e-Stewards certified electronics recycler, consider storing e-waste for donation to the next BGA e-waste Drive.
Giving away or selling used electronics are great ways to extend their use and keep them out of landfills. Some services provide second-hand computers to schools or nonprofits, so your functional old computer could become a valuable tool for someone in need. Please assure that an e-Stewards certified recycler is used by whomever you donate your used electronics to.
No matter where you take your e-waste—to collection events, recyclers, or take-back programs—you should be sure that 100% of the electronic equipment will go only to e-Stewards Recyclers. It’s the best way to protect the global ecosystem and human health when it comes to electronics recycling.