Reducing our environmental impact

With hundreds of performances and over a million visitors every year, we know that our work has an environmental impact. Find out about the positive steps we're taking to minimise this.

Reducing plastics

Single-use plastics and their pollution of our seas is a huge problem. Up to 12m tonnes of plastic finds its way into our oceans every year, including over 70m plastic straws. We are committed to reducing the amount we use.

Straws

We are now plastic-straw-free! Millions of plastic straws are used around the world every day, often thrown away after just a few minutes of use. They can take more than 200 years to break down and are one of the top 10 items found in beach clean-ups. We serve over 165,000 cold drinks every year in our bars, cafes and restaurant, and we stopped using plastic straws in November 2017, replacing them with paper.

A red cocktail in a tumbler and an orange cocktail in a tall glass, with metal stirrers and straws.
Our drinks now come with paper straws and metal stirrers.
Photo by Elin Englund © RSC Browse and license our images

Stirrers

Over 23,000 delicious cocktails are served every year in our Rooftop Restaurant. Each cocktail needs a stirrer for mixing, which used to be made from black plastic but are now stainless steel. These are re-used, rather than thrown away after just one drink.

Drinking cups

To serve our visitors cold drinks and tap water, we order over 300,000 cups every year. We've switched to cups made from plant-based material. These are light, strong and perfect for cold drinks.

Plastic bottles

Our cafes sell over 15 different types of bottled soft drinks. In summer 2017, we decided to streamline our range, introducing glass bottles over plastic ones. We became plastic bottle free in our bars and restaurants in summer 2018. We also provide free water at all our food and drink outlets. 

A hand opens the lid of an orange recycling bin.
None of our rubbish goes to landfill, either being recycled or used to generate energy.
Photo by Emily Magdij © RSC Browse and license our images

Recycling

100% of all waste that comes from the bins in our restaurants and theatres is either recycled or turned into energy.

None of the rubbish generated by our day-to-day activities goes to landfill. We separate out most of our recycling at source, so we can be confident that anything we can recycle, we do recycle.

Any non-food waste that can’t be re-used or recycled is used to generate electricity at a nearby Energy from Waste plant, which helps to power the local area.

All our food waste is either converted into energy and used locally or turned into nutrient-rich fertiliser by a nearby facility. This fertiliser is used in local gardening and agriculture, supporting our local farms.

One of our fleet of electric vans.
One of our fleet of electric vans.
Photo by Emily Magdij © RSC Browse and license our images

Electric vehicles

We now operate three electric vans and have even installed an electric charge point that can be used by our visitors.

We introduced our first electric van to our fleet in 2016, to help our catering team move items across our sites. Now three of our nine vans are electric, and we will continue to bring new electric vehicles into our fleet in the future, where possible.

Visitors who would like to take advantage of our electric charge point can park at the back of The Other Place, then pay £1 at the bar in Susie’s to charge their vehicle. 

A bed of solar panels overlooking the theatre
Our solar panels at The Other Place.
Photo by Jenny Pulman © RSC Browse and license our images

Solar power

Whenever we can, we look for new ways to make our theatres and our supporting activities greener. In January 2016, we installed solar panels at The Other Place when we re-developed the building. The panels convert the energy in sunlight to electricity, which we use to power The Other Place.

Since the solar panels have been in operation, the system has generated 89,572 kWh (kilowatt-hours). That’s the equivalent of powering 23 average-sized houses or making 3.5m cups of tea.

Any extra electricity generated by our panels is fed straight back to the National Grid, so it can be used elsewhere. No power generated by our panels is wasted.

Our Sound and Front of House teams now use more rechargeable batteries than ever before.
Photo by Jo Bowker © RSC Browse and license our images

Rechargeable batteries

After estimating that our Sound Department alone could be using as many as 4,000 standard AA batteries per year, they have now successfully trialled using rechargeable alternatives in their radio mics. After each use on stage, the batteries are fully recharged ahead of their next use, with each battery guaranteed 500 charges. This means that just one rechargeable battery can replace 500 standard batteries.

Our Front of House team now use these batteries in their torches, and the IT department for their electronic scanners and other battery-powered pieces of equipment.

As all batteries can be recycled, whether single use or rechargeable, our Porters also collect used batteries for recycling off-site.

For more information, please read our full environmental policy.

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