make trip to movies more eco-friendly

How to Make Your Trip to the Movies More Eco-Friendly

Everyone loves getting lost in an immersive movie theater experience for a few hours. However, the sight of piled-up popcorn boxes and soda cups in the trash outside the box office might leave you feeling a little guilty.

Wondering how to still practice sustainability in your movie time fun? You’ll be glad to know there are small things you can do. From carrying your own straw to using e-tickets, here’s how to make your movie trip more eco-friendly. 

make trip to movies more eco-friendly

Take Your Own Concession Containers 

Some cinemas may allow you to fill up your own container with popcorn and your own reusable cup with soda from the fountain. If your movie theater of choice has rules against that, the most you can do is carry your own reusable straw for your drink. 

Straws are one of the biggest culprits of plastic pollution in the ocean. Considering over 500 trillion pieces of plastic are already floating around in our oceans, it’s crucial to be mindful of single plastic use with every activity. 

It’s also a good idea to pass on the drink lids. Get yourself a reusable spill-proof drink cover to cross other moviegoers safely to your seat. 

Visit a Sustainably Powered Theater

Maybe you’re part of the 17% of millennials who go to movies monthly or you promised a friend you would watch the Hunger Games prequel for old times’ sake. 

Try to find a cinema that practices some form of sustainability, whether incorporating energy-reducing strategies or switching to solar power. It’s worth some extra research to find one.

However, if it means driving a longer distance, going to a theater closer to home may be better. Otherwise, make a trip out of it and reduce your carbon footprint by taking public transport to the destination. Subway systems produce 76% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and 33% fewer from buses.

Get E-Tickets 

With the latest technology, you no longer need a printed ticket stub. Practice sustainability by paying for your movie tickets online and downloading them on your phone. If you’re a keepsake collector and value ticket stubs for the sentiment, try something new and start a journal on your phone or digital scrapbook to store all your memories.

Carry Your Own Snacks 

Gone are the days when you had to sneak in snacks in a fake baby bump or oversized jacket. Some cinemas will let you bring your own snacks, as long as they’re actual snacks and not hot food which could disrupt other moviegoers’ experience. 

Make your own movie snacks or buy from a sustainable local market. You can choose healthier options, like dried fruit and nuts or make vegan chocolate bark. If you do want snacks from the theater, buy snacks with recyclable packaging. 

Take Any Leftovers Home

Sometimes you’re so focused on the movie you forget to eat your popcorn or snacks in between. Save it for later, instead of tossing it in the trash. Otherwise, it could end up in a landfill somewhere, which prevents it from decomposing properly. The lack of moisture and soil may produce methane. 

Seal your popcorn in an airtight container when you get home. If you can’t finish it, consider feeding it to your chickens or to birds in the yard, as long as it isn’t loaded with butter. (NOTE: You also might want to wet it down to make it easier for smaller birds to digest.) Composting uneaten popcorn is another option. 

Your favorite movie may not be zero-waste like “Citywide,” the feature film by Emily Gallagher and Austin Elston, which only produced 16 ounces in trash over three years of production. Still, you can do your part to reduce waste. If your zero-waste lifestyle goal is to reduce your trash to a single jar’s worth per year, you need to think of creative ways to be more eco-friendly in places that may seem difficult to implement sustainability. 

Enjoy a More Eco-Friendly Movie Experience

Whether you regularly go with your kids to watch the latest animations or want to plan a romantic date at the cinema, these tips can help you make your trip to the movies more eco-friendly.

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