Green Production Tips

Find out how to reduce the impact of media production.

Key Tips

Leadership / Communication

Ensure that sustainability messages are delivered from the top of an organisation.

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At the initial meeting, communicate what policies you are implementing, why they are important and what steps will be taken to achieve them.

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Essential to the success of a sustainable production is the absolute commitment of the Producer, Production Manager, Line Producer, Production Coordinator, Construction Manager and HODs.

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HODs must make sure that their teams are aware of the policies and encourage them to work with these considerations in mind.

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Educate others within your organisation and beyond. Leave a lasting legacy and pass on your knowledge.

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Leadership / Organisation

Assign a ‘green’ representative or champion for every stage of the production, including: editing, publicity and post production.

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Assign environmental champions in each department who will encourage best practice and make sure that their department is achieving its departmental targets.

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Seek to comply with the voluntary best standard practice for film (BS 8909).

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The 8909 standard provides guidelines on how to create and maintain a sustainability management system specifically for film (and television) organisations.

Here’s a quick summary:

Step #1: Planning Identify your impact and put in place a plan to do something about it. This includes setting objectives, assigning responsibility, looking over a number of time scales and communicating your plan.

Step #2: Implementation Ensure that adequate resources and support have been assigned in order to bring your plan to fruition.

Step #3: Monitoring Make sure you monitor your progress and take action on your findings.

Step #4: Management Review Make sure your reviews are timely and that a plan has been put in place to share findings amongst the organisation and its stakeholders.

You can buy a copy here.

Case Studies

Suppliers

BS 8909

Leadership / Attitudes

There must be commitment from all cast, crew and suppliers. Although leadership from the top is key, it is ultimately up to each individual to take responsibility.

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Encourage and reward environmental progress among your crew and suppliers.

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All staff should lead by example, e.g. senior executives are not excused from the ‘no plastic water bottle’ policy.

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Take the lead with new technologies. Trial new ideas and be proud and excited to be an industry first.

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Getting Started / Planning

Use albert to ensure you understand the carbon impact of all the activities you plan to undertake during production

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Case Studies

Suppliers

albert the carbon calculator

Take a proactive approach to balancing your budget between initiatives that will save money, and those which cost a bit more.

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Define the key objectives for your production (e.g energy conservation or waste diversion). Identify where there are likely to be logistical or financial constraints and plan an alternative.

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Allow sufficient time in the prep stages for sustainable practices to be implemented.

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Plan ahead. Set achievable goals and targets for the whole production and for each department which can be reviewed at regular stages.

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Check that your procurement policy encourages sustainability both within your organisation and from your suppliers.

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Familiarise yourself with any sustainability policies/calculators/scorecards which your studio/organisation already use.

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Keep a record of any green vendors you are trying (and let us know who you like!).

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Research feasible alternative technologies/low impact options as soon as possible.

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Getting Started / Communication

Engage all HODs at your intial start-up meeting to make them aware of the green policy and their obligations to sustainable procurement. Provide them with suggested supplier lists, information and goals as early as possible (why not refer them to this site?).

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Insert a line into the contract asking crew to comply with the company’s sustainability policy.

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Make the relevant departments aware of the need for sustainability to be integrated into set designs (so that they can begin designing with deconstruction and reuse of materials in mind).

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Write and communicate a clear sustainability policy and communicate it with all stakeholders.

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Getting Started / Setting up spaces

Make sure that recycling signage is clear and comprehensive.

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If using a paperless office system, set this up in the very first stages of production.

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Make sure that the correct recycling facilities are in place for workshops/warehouses.

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Hire (or purchase if necessary) energy A-rated white goods and appliances (e.g. washing machines/toasters etc)

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All white good are now given an energy rating. White goods include fridges, dishwashers, washing machines etc. Very simply, the higher the energy rating, the more efficient your appliance will be and therefore the lower the cost of associated energy. ‘A’ is the highest rating, and most efficient, ‘G’ is the lowest and means it is extremely inefficient.

If you are buying appliances new, you should definitely be aiming for ‘A’ rated products, even if the cost is slightly higher, you will see savings in energy use. Once your production ends, make sure that white goods are either sold on to another production or donated to a school or charity etc and are not discarded or put into a skip.

Some products also now come with a CO2 rating although these are less common. Again, the higher the rating, the better they are for the environment.

Order reusable drinking bottles and mugs/thermos’ for crew.

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Set up smart meters in warehouses and offices if they do not already exist.

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If possible, swap light bulbs for low energy ones and re-set AC/heating timers to suit your needs so that they are not left running unnecessarily.

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Getting Started / Crew/Staff

Hire crew members whom you know to be more flexible, adaptable and willing to try new things.

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Select local staff and suppliers who won’t have to travel so far.

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Here are a few online databases which can help you find them…

Suppliers

Creative England

Natural History Network

Eye Fish

Hire a green steward and have them meet with each department to discuss their specific goals and provide help and advice to achieve them.

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Appoint a monitor for each department to check lights/computers are turned off at night.

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Make sure that the accounting department are familiar with the carbon calculator you are using and the data they should be flagging for use within albert.

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Don’t enforce, try to encourage. Deliver with conviction but understand that attitudes and behavioural changes take time.

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Commit wholeheartedly, difficulties arise when there is doubt over how much people believe that they can get away with.

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Production Office / Paper

Use a minimum of 30% recycled paper, but aim for 100% - there are many brands available.

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Have an ‘opt in’ policy for paper copies of scripts, call sheets, movement orders and schedules.

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Distribute call sheets electronically (most people view it on their smart phones).

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Double-side schedules.

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Production Office / Energy Use

Choose a greener energy tariff if possible.

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Adjust automated heating/AC/light sensors to fit your needs (to avoid them running unnecessarily).

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Switch light bulbs to low energy in lamps (and main lights if possible), and use task lighting – you don’t need the whole office lit up if only a quarter is occupied.

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Production Office / Products

Ask suppliers to reduce packaging or use paper instead of plastic packaging.

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Set up a ‘Green Office’ bulletin board to display tips/articles and previous wins/sample materials and feedback.

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Rent computers and office equipment rather than buying them in new.

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Suppliers

HardSoft

Buy second hand sofas and office furniture.

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Use recycled or FSC envelopes, notebooks and stationery.

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Production Office / Kitchen

No paper/plastic cutlery, plates or cups. And definitely NO polystyrene!

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If ordering take away, ask if they can avoid using polystyrene containers.

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Use reusable towels rather than paper towels.

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Buy organic and Fairtrade where possible.

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Use a coffee machine which will take reusable filters instead of individual pods.

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Buy snacks in bulk to reduce packaging and take old boxes and bags when shopping.

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Use natural cleaning products – dishwasher tablets, soaps, sprays etc.

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Production Office / Other

Choose an ethical bank.

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Encourage electronic viewing via PIX or similar, to view rushes instead of burning CDs.

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Set up your recycling system in the offices and at office kitchens. Compost if possible.

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You can and should recycle:

Paper, Confidential Paper, Cardboard, Tins/Cans/Foil, Glass, Plastics, Food Waste, Animal by-products, WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment), Ink and Toner, Batteries, Film Ends
Wood, Metal, Paint, Lighting Gels, Hazardous Materials, Fluorescent Tubes, Green/Garden Waste, Hardcore/Concrete, Polystyrene, Textiles & Unused Food.

Info and advice in this handy download:

Downloads

Recycling-for-the-media-industries.pdf381 KB

A summary of the things you can and should recycle.

Set up a recycling point for office equipment i.e. Batteries, ink, toner, CDs DVDs, WEEE.

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Post signs reminding people to switch off computers and lights and to print double sided (or not print at all!)

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Studios / Energy Use

Get in touch with the studio’s environmental manager (if they have one) to find out if they have energy meters set up on stages or in offices (many do now).

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Predict your approximate energy consumption using Albert, and then try to reduce this.

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Suppliers

albert the carbon calculator

Speak to your energy supplier to find out if they can switch you to a Green Tariff.

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If there is no green tariff available, a secondary market exists to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) which will count towards reducing your carbon footprint.

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Moderate AC/ heating if they are on a timer system. Don’t leave doors open if it is running.

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Roll out a ‘Turn It Off’ campaign, assign a monitor at night to make sure that lights and AC/ heating are turned off at the end of the day and when absent from the studios or trailers. Put up signs and posters to remind crew to do this.

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Studios / Waste

Set up a comprehensive recycling system.

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You can and should recycle:

Paper, Confidential paper, Cardboard, Tins/Cans/Foil, Glass, Plastics, Food waste, Animal by-products, WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment), Ink and toner Batteries, Film ends, Wood, Metal, Paint, Lighting gels, Hazardous Materials, Fluorescent tubes, Green/garden waste, Hardcore/concrete, Polystyrene, Textiles & Unused food.

Downloads

Recycling-for-the-media-industries.pdf381 KB

A summary of the things you can and should recycle.

Installed plumbed water coolers or large bottles instead of using disposable bottles.

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If you are based primarily in one studio you can hire plumbed-in water coolers which draw water from the mains supply. These are the best case scenario environmentally and are great for the purse strings because you pay for the hire of the cooler and don’t need to worry about refilling.

Suppliers

AquaAid

1st 4 Thirst

Pura Water

Water Mills

Set up visible waste disposal stations throughout the spaces occupied. Include clear and easy to-follow signage.

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Make sure that there is a disposal point for batteries as well as your regular recycling (and composting).

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Make sure that your chosen system for recycling is also rolled out throughout the trailers at unit base. It may be useful to add additional ink cartridge, paper and confidential paper collection points in the Production trailer too.

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Provide continuous feedback for crew and note their achievements. You may want to set up a green notice board at craft services noting the recycling rate for the month, any interesting green facts or stories. It can be motivational to have a green award system to encourage crew members to think a little bit greener.

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Studios / Power

Studios / Lighting

Find out about your options for lighting and you could save a lot of money…and reduce heat. Options reviewed in the BBC’s Low Energy Lighting document.

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Executive summary:

On average, 80% of the energy used during a production is by studio lighting. There is great potential to massively reduce both energy consumption and studio running costs by altering the lights used.

You can either change your power source/supply to lower impact or renewable source, you can switch your lighting to LED, plasma or another low energy variety, or if you are really committed you can do both. If you approach your lighting design with a pre-agreed energy budget, (decided by what is achievable by your hydrogen/electric/WVO biodiesel/hybrid generator).

In order to achieve a truly sustainable lighting solution you should address the lighting equipment, the lighting design and the lighting management. Combining these factors you can achieve an artistic, cost effective and low energy lighting programme.

LEL technologies

When it comes to choosing Low Energy Lighting (LEL), there are lots of options on the market and technology had greatly advanced over that last 5 years. The BBC has produced a very useful guide for Lighting Directors, Studio Managers and Production Teams which outlines the technical capabilities for some of the LEL technologies available on the market and makes comparisons with the current, most widely used kit.

The following chart illustrates very nicely how, when compared on a range of performance criteria, energy consumption and costs, the LEL technologies perform just as well, if not better in many cases, with the exception of cost. This is promising stuff because it means that there are excellent and reliable alternative technologies available out there, and once the technologies become more commonly used, the market prices are likely to fall.

There is a lot of great technical information for lighting designers and studio managers in this guide. The guide offers design notes for hard-lights, soft-lights, cyclorama, wash lights, moving spots and profiles, audience lighting, set decoration, lighting control and dimming.

It is definitely worth pointing this out to your lighting designer as an interesting read. Very briefly summarised, the main point of the guide is to come at lighting design with a fresh approach. The range of different effects can still be achieved but not necessarily by swapping like for like. If you can familiarise yourself with the technologies available, you can achieve very similar effects to that of conventional lighting methods but with a much lower power requirement.

It is also important to measure your power consumption in relation to lighting. If you are able to prove your energy and therefore cost savings with tangible savings it will make for a stronger case in future. However, the key obstacle which many production companies will find with regards to the payback potential of low energy lighting is that in the majority of cases, the lighting kit is rented on a short term contract. The higher cost of the more advanced technology is therefore passed on to the production, but the great cost and energy savings are unlikely to be recouped in the short hire time in which they are being used. The ideal scenario would be for studios to buy in equipment so that they can both absorb the initial high cost, and see a return on their investment on their own energy bill costs.

Case Studies

Downloads

The BBC Low Energy Lighting Guide for TV Productions (2014)11 MB

This Guide is intended to assist lighting directors, studio managers and production teams create low energy lighting designs and improve working practices in television productions.

On Location / Waste

Source recycling contractors (and composting if possible) for all locations in advance.

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Set up a comprehensive recycling system.

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You can and should recycle:

Paper, Confidential paper, Cardboard, Tins/Cans/Foil, Glass, Plastics, Food waste, Animal by-products, WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment), Ink and toner Batteries, Film ends, Wood, Metal, Paint, Lighting gels, Hazardous Materials, Fluorescent tubes, Green/garden waste, Hardcore/concrete, Polystyrene, Textiles & Unused food.

Make sure that all members of the Locations team (including dailies throughout the shoot) are thoroughly aware of the recycling procedures. Make sure that they have sufficient provisions (bins, lids, signs and bags) at each location and on their truck.

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Make sure that all prep and strike crews are also abiding by the recycling system.

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On Location / Power

Get the right gennie for the job…

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Power type Carbon WVO biodiesel - zero carbon
Solar (and wind) - zero carbon
Hydrogen fuel cell - zero carbon (depending on source of hydrogen)
Methanol fuel cell - 0.9 Kg per litre
Mains electricity - 0.54 Kg per kWh
Diesel - 2.63 Kg per litre

Legislation

Your gennie must be well behaved…Read more...

Downloads

Sustainable Power for the Screen Arts on Location227 KB

A joint guide from Media Greenhouse and Powerful thinking summarising options and case studies for the Screen Arts when working on location.

Where you must use onsite generators, try to calculate the ‘right size’ load so that you are not wasting fuel and power unnecessarily.

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One of the variables which has the most significant impact on the efficiency of your generator and costs is whether the load capacity is sized correctly for the task. This can be difficult to judge, especially when allowing for back up and secondary back up capacities. However, re-thinking this could make all the difference and will be beneficial to the health of your generator in the long-term. A conventional diesel generator should be run at at least 60 - 75% of their maximum rated load to avoid long term damage. Approach your power design from a different perspective by coming at power design with more detailed information of how much your equipment is truly likely to draw.

The most important thing you can do to reduce your fuel consumption is to produce the most detailed power specification that you can in advance. Use data from monitoring use on previous shows if it is available to establish if generator sizes can be reduced for repeat or similar uses. The key problem in the industry is over specification of power needs in advance, everyone (understandably) plays it very safe when estimating power usage, and each person involved will add little more. It is important to ask your crew to specify what they are likely to draw, rather than the general requirements of each piece of equipment e.g. 125Amp 3 phases, which will result in massive over-sizing of the generators (meaning a lot of fuel burnt for no reason).

The key thing is just to size generators correctly – get the real power requirements from contractors.

FOR MORE INFO, SEE DOWNLOAD

Suppliers

Powerful Thinking

Downloads

The Power Behind Festivals2 MB

This guide was created by Powerful Thinking, the event industry think-do tank on sustainable energy. It offers comprehensive advise on power alternatives and efficiency for everyone involved with events.

Source generators which run on alternative power sources. Solar generators are the lowest impact option, followed by natural gas power and biodiesel.

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Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) gennies…

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Burning Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) is an environmentally beneficial use of a waste product. Virgin oils, where crops are grown intentionally for use as biodiesel, are not considered environmentally beneficial. Edible crops can be diverted away from feeding people and livestock, destruction of habitats may be taking place and there are often socio-economic or ethical issues surrounding the acquisition and management of the arable land they are grown on.

Using WVO biodiesel in your generators is a good way of improving environmental performance without significant changes to the way you operate. WVO biodiesel can be used in the same way as regular diesel so doesn’t require the shift change in attitude which some alternative power sources might. When biodiesel was first introduced, there were problems with the quality which did affect the health of generators and may have given operators a bad view of biodiesel. However we have come a long way since then and nowadays there are thousands of generators running on 100% WVO biodiesel with very few problems reported. Minor adaptations should be made to ensure the long term efficiency of your generator but your contractor should have the expertise to handle this. Following that, you can use your regular generators and simply switch the fuel. A mix can also sometimes be used in generators with no adaptations made to the generator.

Case Studies

Suppliers

Midas

Solar gennies…

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There are a numerous brands and models of generator available on the markets which use solar panels to charge and power them, so there are various ways of approaching it according to the needs of your production.

Photovoltaic (PV) panels, are well suited to the UK as they get their energy from light, not sun, so can still generate electricity when it is overcast (although direct sunlight produces the best results). All that is needed is an array of solar panels. These are generally very quick and easy to put up, take down and transport. They should be positioned facing south and not covered by shade.

Solar generators can be excellent because they are completely free to run and don’t require any fuel to be transported. They do generally produce less power than a conventional diesel generator and power cannot be guaranteed due to the effect of the weather. However, there are ways to plan for peak power loads, even in the worst weather conditions and the benefit of a solar generator is its capacity to store power for later use. In some ways this is even more efficient because it encourages you to manage your power demands to suit your needs rather than, with a diesel generator, burning fuel constantly regardless of demand.

Case Studies

Suppliers

Fire Fly Solar

Medley Productions

Small mobile solar solutions…

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If your power needs are small (charging cameras etc), consider a more mobile power source.

Case Studies

Suppliers

SunStore

Goal Zero

AERVOE

Voltaic

Hydrogen fuel cell gennies…

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The hydrogen fuel cell works by converting hydrogen into energy, the by-products are water and heat so it is a very clean technology. The hydrogen ‘fuel’ can be sourced as the by-product of chemical processes or from the gasses arising from anaerobic digestion (composting facilities). Research is also underway into sourcing hydrogen as a by-product of the energy generated from solar technology and wind turbines, making this a very sustainable ‘fuel’ source. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used.

Unlike a solar or hybrid generator, a fuel cell does not have a battery to store power, however as long as they are supplied with oxygen and fuel they can produce continual electricity. Fuel cells are smaller and lighter than conventional diesel generators making them ideal for productions on the move. They run silently and are ideally suited to locations with restricted space or wildlife filming which requires a level of stealth.

Case Studies

Suppliers

Light Green Power

Arcola Energy

Fuel Cell Systems

Methanol fuel cell gennies…

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Methanol fuel cells are comparatively expensive and inefficient compared to the hydrogen fuel cell however there is still a lot of research and development underway. The reason that the methanol fuel cell is so much dearer is that it crucially contains platinum. The great benefits of using methanol are that they are very lightweight, silent and the methanol liquid fuel is much easier to store than the compressed hydrogen.

Currently the methanol fuel cell is best suited to smaller demands, they generally range from 25W to 850W with 12 or 24V outputs, however this could be stepped up with an inverter to produce 110 or 220V. The cell would work well supplementing another power source or would be perfect for filming in small, remote or restricted spaces, perfect for filming wildlife. They do require fuel top ups, although not nearly as regularly as a diesel generator would, meaning savings on travel and labour too. The methanol fuel cell can achieve up to 52 days runtime from one fuel cartridge.

Suppliers

Fuel Cell Systems

Pedal power gennies…

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Pedal power (or other kinetic movements) is a very interesting and exciting new technology. For obvious reasons this would not be suitable as a power source for the vast majority of productions. However it could provide a great opportunity if used at launch events or premiers to promote the green credentials of a production, engage the audience and provide enough free energy to power the screening or performance.

Case Studies

Big Cycle Cinema

Big Cycle Cinema power generation event cycle

Suppliers

Electric Pedals

Reduce the use of the onsite generators. Set up an hour in advance of shooting and shut down if you are breaking for lunch, or shooting elsewhere for more than 30 minutes.

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Use low energy/fuel efficient tower lights. Reduce usage by turning off lights during the day.

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Try solar powered toilet blocks.

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Suppliers

Elliott

Use energy meters on site where possible (e.g. rented buildings).

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Regulate lights/AC/heating in trailers – turn off when unoccupied.

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Ask to have the shooting power turned off before leaving the location.

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On Location / Travel

Develop a sustainable travel plan for getting to and from locations.

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Rent low impact, high efficiency vehicles (such as ‘used cooking oil biodiesel’) as pick-up trucks for the Locations team.

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Travel to reccies via low impact transport – train and buses (don’t fly within the UK!).

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Scout locations which are close to the studio and accessible via public transport.

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Provide bicycles and pulley carts, or hire rickshaws for travelling within the location (instead of diesel run gators).

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Use local hotels, with sustainability policies or ethical accreditation if possible.

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On Location / Conservation

Comply with and respect any legislation which may exist for a location e.g. SSSI sites

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Legislation

Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves, Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Areas.Read more...

Preserve and protect wildlife/biodiversity. Make sure that you leave an area as you found it.

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Do not use staples or thumb-tacks in trees.

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Conserve water i.e. when doing wet-downs don’t leave the hose running unnecessarily.

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Engage the local community and give back to them where possible.

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On Location / Practice

Take responsibility for relocating water coolers when moving between locations.

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On the road - Coolers with the 20 litre bottles are great for Catering when you are on the road. It also works very well to fit one into each of your most populated trailers (i.e Production, Transport, Hair & make-up and maybe Artists). If you are moving around locations often, you can take these water coolers with you. The majority of models don’t need to be plugged in to work, the power is just to keep them chilled. Make sure to set them up in shaded areas and try to keep them out of the rain.
For a much more portable system, there is a water box available which is just like a wine box (but contains water). These are very easy to transport however they are still single use containers producing waste packaging so are not the most sustainable option.

Large crews and many extras - For shoots with large and dispersed crews and extras, the Thirst Pack is fantastic. These are similar to the beer backpacks you might see at gigs or festivals. Best practice with these would be to issue reusable bottles where possible or if the numbers are too large, recycled paper cups are preferable. Make sure to collect these for recycling.

If all else fails - In dire cases when there is no other possible option but to use bottled water (which is very rare), there are some brand available with a sustainable conscience. Some use 100% recycled materials and donate profits to water projects in developing countries – worth the extra cost if you are choosing the plastic route.

Note: There is never an excuse for polystyrene!

Case Studies

Share photos digitally and avoid printing.

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Limit the number of hardcopy maps distributed (most people have a sat-nav now)

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Double side all Movement Orders (if you still distribute them).

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Use low impact signage and protective materials (i.e. reusable mats, recycled card etc.).

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Use environmentally friendly, non toxic cleaning products.

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Use recycled toilet paper and environmentally friendly soaps.

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Transport / Practices

Use Albert to calculate your baseline travel footprint, identify the largest carbon contributors and put in place a realistic travel policy.

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The first step is to write your Sustainable Travel Plan. Identify where you will be using transport, where you can cut it out altogether and where you can make changes to reduce your impact.
Transport will always be a major contributor to the carbon footprint of a production due to the nature of the industry. It is in your interest to investigate options for switching to low impact vehicles in order to reduce your footprint and to save money. Not only are low emissions vehicles usually very fuel efficient and therefore save costs on fuel, but also, most offer exemptions from London Congestion Charges which is ideal for buyers and runners’ vehicles.

Suppliers

albert the carbon calculator

Monitor the amount of petrol/diesel used via the transport captain and accounts team for use in Albert at the end of production.

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Recycle engine oil, antifreeze and tyres if necessary.

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Enforce the no idling policy! Communicate the no idling policy to all, including daily minibus drivers and standby ambulances.

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Conference call instead of travelling to meetings.

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Consider technology which allows reporters/artists to contribute remotely.

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Case Studies

Suppliers

In:Quality

Aim to reduce air travel where possible by using local crews at international locations.

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Flying is unavoidable due to the nature of the industry and links with foreign countries. Flights are likely to make a significant contribution to your travel footprint so here are some ways to mitigate this. The first line of defence is to reduce the need for travel.

Case Studies

Suppliers

Creative England

Eye Fish

Natural History Network

Eliminate air travel within the UK

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Incentivise car sharing, or travelling via public transport, especially for office staff.

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Distribute a ‘Green Driving Guide’ with tips to improve fuel economy and lower emissions.

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Schedule enough time at each location to avoid return visits.

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Plan establishing shots to require the minimum helicopter flight time.

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Reduce the need for shipping and freighting by sourcing things locally.

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Transport / Vehicles

Maintain vehicles in optimum condition to keep them running at the highest efficiency.

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Use hybrid or energy efficient vehicles for hire cars, taxis, executive cars and run-around vehicles.

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In terms of efficiency, vehicles are measured in grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre travelled, g CO2/km.

The most efficient vehicles come in at or under 100, 100-150 is acceptable, above 150 is not so good.

Efficient cars can be sexy too, so think about them for artists cars too. We like…

Lexus CT 200h (87g CO2/km)
Mercedes E300 Blue TEC Hybrid Estate (110.5g CO2/km)
Mercedes E300 Blue TEC Hybrid Saloon (117.5g CO2/km)
BMW Active Hybrid 3 (139g CO2/km)
Lexus GS 450h (141g CO2/km)
Audi A8 Hybrid (144g CO2/km)
Lexus RX 450h (145g CO2/km)

Case Studies

Use solar powered golf carts and bicycles to get around on locations (including cast travelling from trailers to set).

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If your shoot is mainly based within a large studio in which artists/crew are ferried from base to set, switch to solar powered golf carts, pedal powered rickshaws, or simply use bicycles. These methods are also ideal for vast, but private, sets such as large fields where base may be further than walking distance or studios where unit base is a distance from set. The great benefit is that no diesel is required for these for your entire shoot, and you can keep those craft services pounds at bay too.

Case Studies

Encourage the use of low carbon vehicles in your suppliers.

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Fill cars and mini-busses if using them.

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Use bicycle couriers for inner city errands and purchase locally to avoid long trips.

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Consider replacing shots taken from helicopters with those shot by lightweight drones.

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Transport / Trailers

Combine trailers where possible and use double ended trailers for cast in order to reduce the number of trailers needed.

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Retrofit or request trailers with LED/CFL or other low energy lighting.

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Solar panelled trailers are now available or you could supplement existing trailers with additional solar panels.

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Accommodation / Accomodation

Use hotels with sustainability policies or ethical accreditations.

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Suppliers

The Travel Foundation

Encourage house sharing when foreign crew are visiting (this can be beneficial to morale).

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Use local crew who don’t require accommodation.

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Make the accommodation coordinators aware of the hierarchy of environmental impacts; hotels are least preferable, small hotels/B&Bs are better. Environmentally speaking houses and apartments are best.

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Case Studies

Waste / Set-up

Plan the disposal, storage and removal of your waste.

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Legislation

Store waste correctly…Read more...

Pick the right contractor…Read more...

Do the right thing with your waste…Read more...

Make sure you provide and are provided with all the relevant paperwork.

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Legislation

The production is responsible for the collation & accuracy of all information produced about waste. Read more...

Develop and implement a waste management plan which identifies the minimum possible amount of waste going to landfill.

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Make sure that you have recycling vendors to cover all planned locations and studios.

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Aim for a minimum of an 80% recycling rate.

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Check out what the studio already offers in terms of waste disposal, if necessary bring in your own skips.

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Comply with local waste regulations when you are out on location.

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Request waste reports from your vendor so that you are able to track the amount of waste produced and provide feedback and praise to your crew.

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Send a Green Memo out during prep and before each location.

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Make sure that bins with lids and signage are set up in all holding areas/extras/make-up/warehouses.

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Don’t forget to include ink cartridges and toner, batteries, waste electronic equipment (WEEE) and film ends (which can be sent for silver reclamation) in your waste management plan.

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Waste / Implementation

Reduce usage first! Avoid all single use products and try not to over order.

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Communicate the waste policy to everyone – all trades, all staff, crew and cast and make sure to set up recycling early to accommodate the construction workshops.

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Assign a department to be responsible for the bins, setting up, transporting between locations and emptying (make sure that they communicate the system to any daily staff).

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Put clear and easy to follow signs everywhere explaining what can and cannot go into the bins. Make sure that all bins have lids.

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Make sure that there are sufficient bins of all of the relevant types for your recycling system placed everywhere. Including trailers, holding areas, craft services, catering, on set, hair and make-up etc.

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Ensure that you have your system set up in the trailers too, this may need to be tweaked with single stream paper/smaller bins/simplified system to fit into all trailers.

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Do not overlook sets, costumes, props etc, set up specialised recycling in their workshops such as hazardous waste for adhesives, paints, solvents. Fluorescent tubes and waste electronics, plaster and foam should be considered too.

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Waste / Donations

Ensure that donation is stated as an option for asset disposal.

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You will no doubt be familiar with the procedures for disposal of assets upon wrap. Often when trying to donate items on wrap, the asset manager has to double check procedures and obtain clearance on items before they can give the go ahead, and this can make it difficult to plan efficiently for the collections of items for donation.

A great idea which has been adopted by the BBC is to simply add a clause into the Production Asset Guidelines stating that “An asset in good condition may be taken to a charity shop”.

You can even take this further and write in that assets in good condition must be offered to a charity, school, organisation etc before recycling is considered.

There is huge value in some of the items and even the bare materials used in set design, construction and decorating. If you are able to design sets with the future of your production in mind, you can save yourself thousands of pounds on the costs of scrapping and rebuilding them again in future. There are some great organisations out there which will take almost everything from your set, from props to scrap wood, metal, glass etc. Make the most of organisations which offer recycled materials for the build process too.

Make sure that things are easy to deconstruct making it easier to donate.

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Look into donation opportunities at theatres, schools, acting schools, and charities.

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Make sure that the organisation has the ability to collect. Support those which can.

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Use specialist organisations for reclaiming sets/props/construction materials.

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Have donation organisations set up well in advance of wrap to give them time to make arrangements.

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Materials / Practices

Reduce the use of materials across the board.

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Create a list of all materials and items needed for the production and identify any materials that can be sourced in an environmentally friendly fashion.

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Paper and wood should be FSC certified and aim for at least 30% recycled in paper.

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Use rags and reusable towels instead of paper towels.

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Only buy what will be used and store things properly to allow for donating or reuse later.

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Source contacts for organisations willing to accept donations and have them ready for wrap.

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Use biodegradable and recycled content materials.

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Use rechargeable batteries, make sure that they are fully run down before recharging.

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Case Studies

Ask suppliers for rented items made of sustainable materials. Even if they don’t have any the more we ask the more they are likely to stock such items.

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Materials / Paint

Collect excess paint in allocated trays instead of washing it down the drain.

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Paints, solvents and hazardous chemicals should not be disposed of down the drain. See the Hazardous Waste section for more information on identifying and disposing of Hazardous Waste products.

Legislation

Down the drain..?Read more...

Use plant based paint strippers.

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It will probably come as no surprise that paint strippers contain harmful chemicals. But simply switching to a plant-based paint stripper, you can keep those harmful substances away from the watercourses protecting the environment and once again, your own health.

If you would like to check for yourself, traditional non-biodegradable paint strippers are based primarily on **Methylene chloride, Xylene and Toulene.**

Most biodegradable paint strippers will be based on one of the following chemicals: **Dibasic esters, N-methyl pyrrolidone, Caustic soda, Benzyl alcohol, Hydrogen peroxide or Sodium metasilicate.**

Use non petroleum based, non toxic, low VOC paints. Water soluble latex paints typically contain fewer VOCs, generate fewer odours, and eliminate the need to use paint thinners to clean surfaces.

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Materials / Wood and construction

Schedule design and shoot schedule to allow time for re-use of set walls

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Incorporate salvaged materials

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Case Studies

Suppliers

Scenery Salvage

Build with deconstruction in mind, make things deconstructable and use screws instead of glue.

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Avoid using vinyl and polyfoam blocks. There is a products available in the USA, which will hopefully make it to the UK soon, by Eco-Foam. They are a replacement from polyfoam blocks, made from castor oil.

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Suppliers

Málama Composites, Inc.

For flooring use sustainable or recycled products such as bamboo, cork or recycled content carpet.

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The top most environmentally friendly choices for flooring materials are;

• Cork (must be certified) • Bamboo • Linoleum (low impact alternative to vinyl) • Sustainable (recycled and non-toxic) carpet tiles • PET Berber carpet (from plastic bottles) • Rubber tiles from recycled tyres • Salvaged and reclaimed hardwood

More sustainable wood options are bamboo and farmed maple or birch.

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Avoid using Luan (Far Eastern Plywood), check the chain of custody and traceability of your supplier to check that it has been sustainably sourced. (A lot of Far Eastern Ply is not).

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Use wall skins made from recycled materials.

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Suppliers

Pulp Art Surfaces

Consider using reused metal frames instead of timber.

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Recycled all wood excess (including cut-offs and discards)

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If you separate wood as a separate recycling stream you are likely to get a good price for it.

Re-use as much as possible and donate materials where possible.

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Materials / Costume

Re-use coat hangers and use cloth costume bags in place of disposable plastic ones.

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Buy second hand clothing and accessories.

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Buy organic cotton products or Fairtrade if possible. Support designers who work with more sustainable materials.

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Wash on cold water cycles and avoid dry cleaning.

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Materials / Set Dec./Art/Props

Choose recycled content materials or second hand items.

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There is often a lot of emphasis on the responsible disposal of materials however even more important is the initial choice of materials. Departments such as construction, set decorating and props are ideally placed to procure low impact materials and products at the start of the project which will ensure that throughout the production you are working with the lowest levels of toxicity and may even allow for easier disposal methods at the end. When considering which materials to use, it is naive to assume that recycled or low impact materials are limited aesthetically. There are some very sophisticated products on the market now which will produce great results but are better for the environment (and for your health too).

Avoid toxic and harmful products.

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Avoid using products which contain any of the following as they are the most harmful to your health and to the environment. You will be surprised how often they are still used;
• Formaldehyde • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) • Phthalate plasticizers (often referred to as “fragrances” on product labels) • Brominated flame retardants (when possible) • Chromium • Chromate copper arsenate

Use environmentally friendly cleaning products

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Regular cleaning products contain harmful chemicals which are washed down the drains and end up in our water courses, harming wildlife and polluting our own water resources. Many products exist which do exactly the same job as your conventional cleaners, but without the toxins. It’s a no-brainer that you should be switching to the non-toxic alternatives, both at work and at home. And cleaning products are not restricted to your kitchen and bathroom cleaners, you should also consider what is in your dishwasher tablets, washing powders, shower gels, soaps, shampoos, hand-wash… anything which gets washed down the drain.

Rent items instead of buying or making new.

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Use water based glues and avoid using the toxic products.

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Source locally and buy in bulk where possible to reduce packaging (i.e. gallon cans of instead of 5 litre plastic bottles).

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Materials / Other Departments

Greens – use organic mulch and soil and use live cuttings instead of synthetic ones.

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Grips – donate used lighting gels and unused bulbs (recycle CFL bulbs as hazardous waste).

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Hair and Makeup – Use products with natural ingredients which are cruelty free.

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Hair and Makeup - Use products with refillable containers or with less packaging.

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SFX – Try to source the more environmentally friendly alternatives where possible for effects such as snow, dust and smoke. Dispose of all hazardous materials responsibly.

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• Smoke and Fuel – Use propane and other cleaner burning fuels rather than diesel or petrol and water based products for smoke effects. • Dust – Avoid dust effects which contain carcinogens. Bentonite is a good alternative. Dante’s Peak had great success recreating ash fall using newspaper covered in flame retardant, this could then be swept up and recycled each night. Sawdust, gypsum, flour and wheat flour can also make great alternatives.
• Snow - Use cellulose based snow, such as the 100% biodegradable, non-toxic snow effects

Suppliers

Quicksilver

Production - use reconditioned tapes and make sure discarded tapes are sent for re-use.

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Case Studies

Suppliers

Environmental Media Solutions

Catering / Waste & Compost

Eliminate disposable catering products and serviceware such as cups and food trays. Opt for re-usable crockery, paper, or compostables if you can dispose of them correctly.

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Production of Biodegradable Service-Ware (BSW) There are environmental considerations with biodegradable serviceware (as with everything). At the moment, the majority of brand on the market use materials which result as a by-product of manufacturing processes (e.g. bagasse is a by-product of sugarcane), and these processes usually happen abroad. It is useful to be aware that the associated processing, shipping, manufacturing, more shipping and distribution etc is quite intensive for a single use item. With single use juice cups for example, it may be worth considering UK manufactured paper cups which can be recycled, rather than corn starch imported cups just because they are compostable. – Or just use a re-usable ceramic cup.

Disposal - Ratio of BSW to food Biodegradable plates, cups, cutlery etc can be a bit of a contentious issue. In theory they are a very good idea because they can be thrown in with the composting and there will be no trace that they ever existed within 12 weeks. However, the commercial composting industry is relatively new in the UK with 2 main types of plant; Anaerobic Digestion (AD) or In-Vessel Systems (IVS). Both are in theory capable of accepting biodegradable service products, but a good ratio of food waste to compostable materials is essential to keep the plants running efficiently. Too much dry, tough material will have an effect on the performance of the composting plant. In recent experiences, understandably some commercial composting companies have been reluctant to collect where these products are forming the majority of the customer’s composting waste.

On set this rings true. If you think about the waste arising from your breakfast, lunch and regular coffees, there is usually very little in the way of actual food put into the composting bin because it’s all so tasty. The vast majority is empty cups, plates and containers. However, there are things that you can do to make the system work. If you station the larger 660 litre composting bins at the back of your catering van, the chefs can toss peelings and food prep waste directly into the bins (no bags required). If this can be managed so that bins are half full with real food waste, they can be topped up with the serviceware waste from set and from of house dining area.

BSW going to landfill If you opt to use biodegradable serviceware (BSW), it important that you make sure all the used products are going to composting. This sounds obvious, but if compostable products end up in landfill, they can actually have adverse environmental effects. Landfill sites are designed to be completely sealed (to stop toxins getting out) and they are very dry places with very low oxygen levels. These are the opposite conditions to those required for natural decomposition (damp and oxygen rich). Therefore when biodegradable products are broken down without oxygen, they release methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
So if (for some strange reason) you are sending any of your production waste to landfill, make sure to keep these products separate.
Best practice

If you think that you may have trouble with composting on your production but you want to use more sustainable serviceware products, here are some alternative practices;
1) Use re-usable plates/cutlery
2) Use cardboard products and have dedicated cardboard bins
3) Reduce as much as you can, only provide 1 lunchbox per person
4) Replace single use coffee cups with personal thermos mugs (coffee cups make up a huge amount of on-set waste).
5) Have re-usable Tupperware (or similar) for craft service snacks
6) Whatever you do, DO NOT USE POLYSTYRENE! There is no excuse for it, and get your head around this… it will stay intact in the ground or at sea for 1 million years before decomposing.

Suppliers

EnviroPack

Vegware

London Biopackaging

Compost if possible. If at first it is too much, start with bins just for caterers prep and waste at the catering van.

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Make sure that catering staff are on board and fully understand how to compost and recycle the correct materials. It may be beneficial to purchase smaller/different sized bins to be able to fit in narrow kitchens/on worktops.

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Educate the kitchen runners so that they have a clear understanding of what can and can’t be composted, and which dumpsters the composting waste goes into, (they will be handling/emptying the bins day to day).

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Make sure that there are sufficient stations of composting and recycling bins and signage everywhere so that crew know where and what to compost/recycle.

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Make sure that the composting is also setup in all trailers and in the production office (anywhere with a kitchen).

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Set up separate bins for tins and cardboard around the back of the catering van to make it easier to separate out food from foil/packaging.

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Used cooking oil will be collected for free by various companies within London/Surrey, use this service as this is the perfect resource for making biodiesel.

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Case Studies

Legislation

Disposing of waste vegetable oilRead more...

Suppliers

Proper Oils

Uptown Oil

Flatten and recycle card – reuse first by taking old boxes back to the shops with you.

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Catering / Products & Practices

Don’t purchase red list seafood, the list is available here and should be put up around the catering van and dining buses.

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The RED list:

Albacore tuna
Atlantic cod or scrod
Atlantic halibut
Atlantic salmon
Atlantic sea scallop
Bigeye tuna
Bluefin tuna
Chilean sea bass
Greenland halibut
Grouper
Hoki
Monkfish
Ocean Quahog
Orange Roughy
Pollock
Redfish
Red snapper
Sharks
Skates and Rays
Swordfish
Tropical shrimp
Yellowfin tuna

It is really important that we make more sustainable choices when it comes to choosing fish for our dinners. Many marine fish stocks are in serious decline almost 80% of the World’s fish stocks are over exploited or even gone now due to the pressures of fishing, pollution and climate change. All it takes it the knowledge to make more sustainable choices and a workplace which provides catering is a fine place to emphasise the importance of this.
You must encourage your caterers/chef to use the sustainable species in lunches, but also you have a great opportunity to put up posters in your dining areas to really get the message out to crew too.
If you are unsure where a fish species ranks on the sustainability scale, simply type it in to this database. Fish database: http://www.goodfishguide.co.uk/search-results
It will give you the sustainability ranking of your fish, information about the fishing methods and regions you should be prioritising and alternative species which would be more sustainable options. There are also handy guides about choosing seasonal fish and what to avoid.
This website also gives a handy printable poster guide which is perfect for your caterers to stick on their kitchen or dining area walls. There is also a handy pocket guide (shown below) and for the techie chef, there is an app which makes it really easy to double check when out shopping.

Try Meat free Mondays.

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Provide water coolers in the catering and craft areas so people can refill their bottles.

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Suppliers

Water Mills

1st 4 Thirst

Pura Water

AquaAid

Use low emission fuels in BBQs (propane or natural gas)

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Use environmentally friendly cleaning products and reusable towels.

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Use compostable bin liners (even if not composting on set).

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Suppliers

Poly Bags

Use reusable dinnerware and reusable water bottles and travel mugs.

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If it is not possible to use reusable food serviceware, use biodegradable products.

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Absolutely no polystyrene should be used.

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Purchase local and seasonal produce.

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Provide condiments in refillable bottles instead of single serve sachets.

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Try to gauge an accurate headcount and don’t buy more than you need.

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Catering / Craft Services

Avoid single use pods for coffee, instead opt for reusable filters.

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Buy Fairtrade where possible (coffee, sugar, chocolate, fruit and veg).

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