Cinema with a Conscience - how we are greening-up our act

Like so many, we have growing concerns about climate change and the visible and immediate effects this is having on the planet. Inspired by Lewes Depot’s green initiatives, we have been thinking a lot recently about our environmental impact as an organisation, and how we can minimise this as much as possible, starting with our cafe-bar. If you are a regular visitor to our cinema, you may have noticed a few changes to the way we do things.

We wanted to highlight some of these initiatives and give them a little more context. Of course, we know we still have a long way to go to be 100% sustainable, so if you have any other ideas about improvements we could make to green-up our act further, we’d love to hear from you!

1) Plastic-free and re-use initiatives

As of July we longer sell drinks in plastic bottles. For thirsty customers, we still sell water in glass bottles (glass is easier to recycle than plastic) and tap water is always readily available. All we ask is that customers bring their own water bottles to fill up, or pay a 20p suggested donation for a biodegradable vegware cup.

To reduce waste even further, drinks are served in reusable cups (plastic wine glasses and china mugs), or straight out of the can/bottle/carton, to avoid unnecessary waste. Naturally this means a bit more cleaning for our volunteers at the end of the night - but who doesn’t love a bit of washing up?!


2) Dairy-free alternatives

We recently decided to stop offering cow’s milk on our tea and coffee self-service table. Instead, you will find a selection of tasty dairy-free plant-based alternatives.

This is for two reasons, the primary being in recognition of the fact that cow’s milk has the worst environmental impact (highest water consumption during manufacture, highest demands on the earth’s resources… the list goes on!). The second reason comes down to a matter of circumstance, as the short expiry on cow’s milk paired with the fact we are limited to just two screenings a week resulted in us throwing away gallons of expired milk.

3) Sourcing locally

We are very conscious of where our stock comes from, and make efforts to work with local and ethically-driven suppliers wherever possible. Our beer is made by indie brewers Signal Brewery in Purley Way, our coffee is roasted in Volcano Works roastery in West Dulwich (and donated to us for free - thanks Volcano!), our tea comes from Birchall in Sydenham and our brownies are made by local bakers. 

We are always on the look out for new suppliers, so if you have an ethical food and drinks business based in South London, please get in touch!

Words by Katie Brandwood.

Katie Brandwood