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Dead Refrigerators Come Back To Life as Movie Theater in London

| Thursday September 1st, 2011 | 2 Comments

Recycling is not the most exciting topic. Gather your cans and newspapers, take them to the curb once a week. End of story, right? Beyond the occasional thought of e-cycling when we retire old gear, and the grade school upcycling buzz of TerraCycle, recycling’s not a front of mind consideration for most people. This summer in London, a crew of people and 150 dead refrigerators aimed to change that.

Films On Fridges took a commodity item that we take for granted, then either kick to the curb (literally), banish to the basement, or if our community supports it, get recycled, and put it to a wholly different use: The walls, fixtures and decor of a pop up movie theater. The refrigerators were sourced from Sims Recycling Solutions, donated for the summer with the understanding it would help build a bigger conversation about what can be recycled, rather then discarded by default, presumed to be a lost cause.

This isn’t without precedent.

Fridge Mountain satellite image

Blocks away from this pop up theater was what locals once called “Fridge Mountain”, a site in the then rougher around the edges Hackney neighborhood, where discarded refrigerators stood in 20 foot columns, an unmissable monument to our disposable culture. 2005 saw the end of it, as they were cleared away in preparation for the 2012 London Olympics, now the home of the Olympic aquatic centre.

Films on Fridges served multiple purposes: A salute to the area’s working class roots coupled with a nod to its future, predominately featuring athletics themed films, from Rocky to Chariots of Fire. Some may have been inspired to envision their own ambitious upcycling project.  For some, it was probably little more than a novel venue to watch vintage films. Or perhaps, like their favorite pack of drinks, the thought to more actively seek out recycling options was moved more forward in their mental fridge.

Readers: Where else are you seeing creative engagements with the community that inspire more sustainable behavior in the process? What are you personally doing to foster more dynamic engagement with sustainability? Did you catch a film at Films on Fridges? How was the popcorn?


Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.

Image Credits: Guardian & Films On Fridges


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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Leon-Kaye/726541285 Leon Kaye

    From one 3p writer to another: this made my day. What a great idea. With all due respect, this is the post of the year. :)

    • Paul Arthur Smith

      That’s awesome, thanks much. I thought you were joking on Twitter. Apparently not!