Cirque du Soleil Brings a Green Touch to Frisco
That blue and yellow tent that has sprung up in the parking lot of Frisco’s Dr Pepper Arena – the one that will house Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo for nearly a month – has a bit of a green tint to it as well. When this particular circus comes to town, it brings an environmentally-conscious element along with it.
Thinking green has been part of the Cirque du Soleil philosophy since the early 2000s. That commitment has grown steadily through the years and now includes recycling and conservation efforts both at the organization’s Montreal headquarters and at the various road shows touring the United States and the world.
The Ovo tour features clearly-marked recycling receptacles at all entries and exits, diverting waste away from landfills. The show also is equipped with low-flow sanitation facilities, including dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals and low-flow taps, all of which the company owns.
While those Earth-friendly measures will be obvious to area residents attending this show, other Cirque du Soleil tours have pursued different avenues to be good stewards:
- To reduce water consumption, the Quidam show team used water condensation from the humid air inside the tent created by the HVAC air conditioning system. A large tank was installed near the site’s sanitation facilities, and people were encouraged to use the water for cleaning the floors backstage and in the bathrooms, and for washing their hands. (The water was tested to assure adequate purity for human contact.)
- On the Kooza tour, one of the employees is named “Eco-Leader.” The individual is in charge of making sure staffers use the waste collections stations for recycling, composting and garbage correctly. The boutique, meanwhile, saves plastic protective packaging from merchandise boxes and reuses it to wrap mugs and other fragile items in addition to using it in envelopes for mailing products.
Those on-the-road efforts are noteworthy, certainly, but Cirque’s environmental responsibility efforts begin at home, at the International Headquarters in Montreal.
In December, 2008, a 400,000-liter (about 157,000 gallon) rainwater collection basin was put into operation. For toilets alone, this meant water savings of 57,400 liters (about 15,000 gallons) annually. A year later, Cirque had reused 1,357,000 liters (about 358,000 gallons) of water.
The basin holds rainwater throughout both the summer and winter. Water is pumped into the system supplying sanitation facilities in part of the building or is used to irrigate gardens.
Water savings achieved at the Montreal facilities involve other initiatives as well. All 13-liter (3.43 gallon) toilet tanks were replaced by 6-litre (1.59 gallon) tanks or 6-litre/3-litre dual-flush toilets. Low-flow urinals and taps were also installed.
On the home front, Cirque also promotes public transit. In addition to paying 50 percent of the cost of employees taking public transit, the company (from May to late October) provides a fleet of bicycles to travel the kilometer (.62 miles) between its two main buildings.
Meanwhile, recycling boxes are provided to dispose of electronics or related waste from work or home. In 2009, the Montreal office recycled 4,440 CDs and DVDs as well as 503 kilograms (about .5 tons) of batteries of all kinds. Cell phone batteries and ink cartridges were given to a local organization that recycles them to finance operations.
During the peak summer months (July and August), about 100 employees take their own two-wheelers to work. Their reward: a free bike tune-up offered in partnership with a local company that specializes in fixing and selling bicycles.
Ovo (“egg” in Portugese) will be part of the local landscape under the Grand Chapiteau (or Big Top) from Jan. 28 through Feb. 27. Visit the show’s official web site for more information.