How to have a waste-free movie trip

If award season has you inspired to head to the cinema to see the nominated films, or perhaps you’re planning a romantic movie night for Valentine’s Day – here are a few tips for enjoying the trip waste free.

From classic tear-jerkers, to arty independent flicks, to startling thrillers – the year always opens with a generous flock of notable films.

With the Oscar season now here, visiting your local picture house is a staple for many of our weekends during the months of January and February – two of the most popular months for cinemas.

But visits to your local movie theatre often includes a hefty bundle of needless waste. Ticket buds, pic n mix boxes, bottles and cans of fizzy pop swell our cinema bins relentlessly. Although some cinema sites have invited recycling systems (I saw a three part bin in The Ritzy Picturehouse Cinema last month: with ‘food’, ‘paper/plastics’ and ‘other’ clearly marked above each); more often than not there is only one bin available – which means everything goes straight to landfill. Considering there were over 177 million cinema visits last year in the UK and Republic of Ireland alone – thats a lot of rubbish.

But with a little preparation it’s easy to avoid waste at the cinema. Here are some easy ways to make your movie trip a waste free one: 

Go paperless
Having an e-ticket is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways of abolishing waste. Pre-booking your ticket before going to the cinema replaces the need for a paper print out, as with purchase you are instantly emailed a barcode version. Not only does this preparation allow you to reserve your space and preferred seat location (I am a Row C aisle seat kind of girl), but the reference number provided also means you don’t need to worry about losing it either.  

Bring your own cup
Having your reusable water bottle to hand is another way of side stepping trash from plastic drinks bottles, glass beer bottles and sparkling drinks cans and cartons. If, however, you prefer to pair a warm beverage with your watch, then you can alternatively bring a flask or reusable coffee cup for the kiosk to fill up accordingly. Most chains operate with a standard cafe coffee machine set up, so this is unlikely to be met with difficulty. 

Pack your own snacks
You needn’t compromise on sweet popcorn to please your partner either, as you can each bring your own chosen snacks too. Long gone are the days of security searching your bag for home brought treats before entering screen 5! Stay safe with popcorn and try making your own.  Kernels can be bought at most supermarkets or in bulk at package free locations scattered across the city. Oodles of recipes can be found online but why not go gourmet with it and try maple caramel or a vegan cheese version? Have a gander online for your perfect flavour to pop and pack for your next trip. 

Or use theirs… (kinda..)
The Pic n Mix isle can still be used too though. Simply bring your own container, ask the server to weight it before selecting your wine gums and shoelaces, so they are able to price your confectionary selection correctly. You can even still meet your ice cream needs whilst not making trash. Most VUE and ODEON cinema chains offer an array of the most adored Ben & Jerry flavours by the scoop. Think about bringing your own tupperware and ask the staff member to fill it up instead.

The trip to the cinema is still a wonderful, magical one; but it can be wasteful. By following these simple measures, it can still be treasured without damaging our environment so much. 

See more simple plastic-free swaps in Melissa Hemsley‘s guide.