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Zero Waste Community Movie Night

The Ghost of Plastic Past, Present, and 1000-years into the Future waits patiently for the big show to begin (See more photos)

Even though it has been over three months since Halloween, last week there was a haunted house at the West Tisbury School. But this was not just any garden-variety fear factory, this was the “Plastic House of Horrors.” Just to enter, you needed to muster sufficient bravery to pass through dangling tentacles of plastic packaging and tape extruded from old VHS cassettes – and things only got worse from there. All manner of plastic waste was transformed for the night into spider webs and a devilish diversity of monsters.

The spooky spectacle was created by the WTS sixth graders to get the community thinking about how our mundane, and seemingly innocuous, everyday plastic items may not be so innocent. Equally arresting as the physical manifestations of waste were the facts displayed on student posters – especially those regarding ocean pollution. In light of these real-world problems, many of the less outwardly fearsome denizens of the haunted house took on a more sinister edge. That Baby-Kale-Plastic-Clamshell-Zombie was simply waiting to reveal its true colors.      

The Plastic House of Horrors was just one part of the Island’s first Zero Waste Community Movie Night. The free event, held at the West Tisbury School, featured the movie “Everything Connects,” by Dylan D'Haeze. The 14-year-old filmmaker travelled to the Vineyard all the way from Washington State to speak to students at the screening. The night also featured dinner by Josh & Angela Aronie’s Food Truck, cocoa and coffee from Chilmark Coffee, and a zero-waste bake sale run by the WTS student council, all mindful of the evening’s waste reduction goal. Everything from the hot cocoa mugs to the popcorn bowls was reusable. Guests were asked to bring their own place settings for dinner, and for those who forgot, ceramic plates, bowls, and metal flatware were available to rent.

It was all fun, but it wasn’t all games. Local organizations hosted or sponsored workshops on a variety of waste reduction topics: making your own beeswax wrap, lip balms, and salves; decorating organic cotton produce bags; sifting beach sand to learn about ocean pollution; and insights into composting and plastic recycling. Thank you to our partners, Sail MV, The MV Film Festival, Island Grown Schools, and Cronig’s Market for making it all happen!

An extra-special thank you is due to the students, teachers, and parents of the West Tisbury School, and one parent in particular, Moira Silva, who was the catalyst for the event. In the weeks leading up the big night, Moira and VCS staff went to the student council and community service classes to help students plan. They researched facts for posters, designed, built, and ran zero-waste games and the haunted house, ran the bake sale, and facilitated the after-movie discussion. Their enthusiasm and excitement made the night a great success.

VCS is pleased to be part of this movement currently building in our schools to increase awareness of “Zero Waste” ethics and promote waste reduction efforts. The water bottle refill station project and plastic bag ban both helped highlight concerns about disposable plastics, and now the enthusiasm and energy from students, parents, and staff at the schools are taking things even further. All told, the first Zero Waste Movie Night was a wonderful reason for over 100 people to gather on a cold January night and learn about what each of us can do to make a difference!