Popcorn boxes, empty bottles and potato chip wrappers are all in a day’s work for cinema cleaners.
But they have also unearthed puzzling items from under the seats of movie theatres, such as soiled baby diapers and even live crabs.
The mess made by moviegoers after a screening can be challenging to clear up, but cinema operators are now seeing a silver lining.
Recent efforts to urge patrons to clear their trash on their way out after a movie are starting to pay off. While they don’t track the amount of rubbish collected, cinema chains such as Golden Village (GV) and Shaw said they are noticing more patrons chipping in to help keep their venues clean.
The bulk of the trash is packaging from snacks and drinks sold at the cinemas, such as popcorn boxes and nacho trays. Also common are potato chip wrappers and drink cartons. Some eyebrow-raising items include luggage, prams and even a bag of new underwear. Wallets, keys and coins are also sometimes left behind.
These items are usually kept for a period. If nobody claims them, they are either discarded or donated to charity. Consumables are kept for 24 hours before they are thrown away. This was the case for the live crabs that were found at GV Jurong Point a few years ago… in case you were wondering.
Cleaning up is often not easy. Popcorn and food scraps can end up stuck between the seats; sometimes, trash is intentionally slotted between the seats. Certain spots you might not even realise are dirty require extra attention – take for instance curtains that some wipe their dirty hands on (C’mon, now!).
Typically, a cleanup is done after each screening. The lights are switched on and cleaners – armed with vacuum cleaners, wiping cloth and disinfectants – spend 10 to 20 minutes tidying up the cinema halls before the next movie comes on. They remove litter on the carpet, perform a wipe-down of the seats and attend to any spillage, among other tasks.
While movie-goers are increasingly cleaning up after themselves, cinemas believe more can adopt the habit. After all, it’s a good practice anywhere, not just in the cinemas.
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, October 2017
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