From dustbin to Mexico: a True/False sustainability story

The bin near the True/False office has many cardboard boxes that could be reused.

By Echo Zhang

The day after the legendary True/False film festival, I stood in front of the recycle bin and found my treasure: cardboard boxes for shipping the documentary files to another festival in Mexico. It was my big mission volunteering as Errand Runner that day to help T/F shipping go green!  The idea came from charge staff Sarah Haas and Steve Witzig: instead of ordering new shipping boxes, they decided to use old ones. By receiving these reused packages, the recipients also get to be exposed to the sustainable recycling idea, which then will build up the entire green circle.

Besides this tiny but smart green effort, the 2012 True/False festival undertook a broad strategy to maintain sustainability.

“The major sustain efforts were to encourage bike usage during the Fest and to provide filmmakers and other guests with carpooling transportation options,” Sarah says.

One transportation volunteer told me that she was so excited to see some film directors and musicians, once she even got a “generous tip” for her late night pick up. Besides being an anecdote, I also read it as a token to show the friendly, casual atmosphere the fest had set up resulting from green trial.

Volunteers setting up Forrest theater, putting up curtains made from reused material.

Moreover, being the fest’s creative and stylish part, the art design and stage sets were greatly made of reused material, for instance, the trees and curtains in the new venue Forrest theater. So is the “influencing machine”.

In the future, Sarah suggests more recycling containers at every venue and clearly marking them for things such as paper coffee cups. Most importantly, True/False will always welcome creative sustainers to contribute more advice to make the festival more sustainable and delightful.


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