Here’s how True/False handles its environmental impact

True/False is getting more and more eco-friendly all around. From Camp True/False to film screening venues, understand what the fest is doing to help the environment.

True/False Film Fest has a history of being extra careful with its environmental impact. In 2018, for example, the fest won the Mayor’s Award at the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement Awards for its exceptional work in recycling and reducing single-use items. This year, the festival’s green mission is going even further — going 100 percent straw free, among other efforts.

Not only is True/False eliminating straws and encouraging local businesses to do the same, but it’s also making changes all around its structure. Camp True/False, a weekend film boot camp for high school students, will substitute disposable plates and flatware for reusable ones.

When it comes to transportation, True/False invests in a green campaign, encouraging fest-goers to bike, walk and ride-share. A bike station will offer riders free inspections and safety tips, and extra bike racks will be placed downtown. The festival has also partnered with Go COMO to provide free bus rides during the fest’s weekend, as well as a special True/False route.

In addition to that, the festival’s Green Team will pay attention to waste. The City of Columbia’s Solid Waste Utility is contributing with extra recycling bins that will be monitored by Green Team members, making sure that people are disposing of their trash correctly.

“We basically are tracking our progress over time,” Patricia Weisenfelder said in an interview with the Columbia Missourian last December. “We recycle and compost at all of the venues.” Weisenfelder is T/F’s sustainability coordinator. “We track the amount of food waste we are collecting and diverting from the landfill. Ultimately we would like to be a zero-waste fest, kind of focusing on the solid waste aspect of sustainability.”

The art installations are also included in this zero-waste program. The installations and material management teams of the fest make sure that art pieces are repurposing, reusing and recycling materials and supplies, sometimes even inspiring installations for the following years. They focus efforts on the festival’s diversion rate, meaning the amount of waste that does not end up in landfills.

“For their continued efforts in reusing through artistry, composting, recycling and reducing single-use items, True/False earned the 2018 Mayor’s Award,” a statement from the Office of Sustainability of the City of Columbia read. “Their Green Team has achieved a diversion rate of over 87 percent and continues to educate staff, students, volunteers and festival goers on the importance of environmental responsibility.”

Besides that, True/False is also partnering with specific businesses to make the fest greener. Kaldi’s Coffee, for example, will offer discounts for customers using reusable mugs.

“Sustainability is part of our focus on healthy living,” Matt Off said in a statement for the festival’s website. Off is the director of Columbia’s Rock Bridge Hy-Vee, one of the True/False sustainability sponsors. “Working towards more sustainable ways of doing business is part of our overall mission to make people’s lives easier, healthier and happier.”

Green Team members will combine efforts to create a sustainable festival for attendees coming from all over the world. This year’s True/False Film Fest starts on Thursday, Feb. 28 and goes until Sunday, March 3.

Edited by Janae McKenzie |

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