Rethinking Disposable at A ‘Green’ Barbecue

August 6, 2018
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By Lily Marten |

Refillable bottles and reusable food baskets were on the menu at the Clean Water Action “green” barbecue as part of the Indie Street Film Fest in Red Bank. Photo by Lily Marten

RED BANK – Clean Water Action proved it’s possible to have a fun summer barbecue while being ecologically conscious.

The environmental nonprofit organization, a co-sponsor of the 2018 Indie Street Film Fest, helped host a plastic-free “green” barbecue outside Bow Tie Cinemas July 26, following the screening of “The Devil We Know,” a documentary directed by Stephanie Soechtig.

The eye-opening film exposes the 30 years of water contamination that chemical-producing companies 3M and DuPont knowingly inflicted on human life and waterways. Viewers were astounded by the horror of the companies’ cover-up and raved about the inspiration of a community fighting for justice.

The environmentally conscious cookout was a part of Clean Water Action’s ReThink Disposable program which aims to prevent waste by reducing the use of single-use disposables like plastic straws, cups and bags, plastic cutlery, throwaway foam and more. Some of the initiatives of the event included water refill stations paired with reusable cups and avoiding the use of cutlery by serving finger food.

“The program’s entire goal is to work with government, businesses, institutions and consumers to reduce single-use disposable packing in the food service industry,” said Jenny Vickers, communications manager for Clean Water Action. “Rethink the uses of items that you use for a short time period that could potentially end up in our water supply.”

Clean Water Action’s ReThink Disposable program began on the West Coast, at their California location near the San Francisco Bay area. The national organization has 150,000 members in New Jersey and one million nationwide. The group currently operates predominantly in Montclair and Asbury and hopes to launch more programs in Jersey City, Newark and around the state.

From High School Musicals to Broadway Supper Club

Clean Water Action became involved with Indie Street Film Fest as a way to promote their goal of “greening” events like festivals that provide food and produce a lot of waste.

“In this area in particular our focus, in addition to businesses, is events,” Vickers said, “That’s our new and unique thing. It’s something we are looking to grow.”

Red Bank resident Kate Triggiano, the previous ReThink Disposable coordinator and chair of the Red Bank Environmental Commission, introduced the film festival to the ReThink Disposable program for the first time last year.

Partnering with the festival again this year made sense for the nonprofit, not only as an opportunity to bring single-use plastic awareness to another event and community, but also because of their connection to “The Devil We Know” documentary.

“Our connection is obvious,” Vickers said. “Clean Water Action works to protect our water and we’re very involved in corporate involvement with our waterways regarding chemicals and working for the best way we can prevent it before it starts.”

 This article has been edited after publication. It was first published in the Aug. 2 – 9, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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