As on-location and studio production continue to return—thankfully so—it’s a great time to reset and review industry practices to make our commercial sets more sustainable. In addition to producing your project, the facts are film, tv and commercial sets can also produce a good amount of waste through the pre-production to wrap process.
The film, TV and commercial production industry has made great strides in putting together multiple resources for best practices, and whether you are a producer on a large film set, or a crew member on a small local job, any step we can take together can make a huge impact on our daily work and global environment.
There are some fantastic resources and guides accessible and available to production teams, which can be found on such sites as the California Film Commission, the PGA Green Committee, and the Sustainable Production Alliance (SPA). But, to get you started, here are some basic helpful hints that you can incorporate into your next production:
Catering and craft services generate a good amount of waste through discarded food, disposable cutlery and plastic water bottles. By encouraging or offering crew canteens, utilizing reusable dishes and cutlery, and providing designated recycling and compost bins, positive impacts on overall waste can be made.
This applies to pre-production too, as cardboard, paper and packaging from props and equipment can and should be recycled. Think too about how much paper you are utilizing in printing out scripts, crew notes, production schedules and on-set notices. Try to utilize electronic methods when possible, and perhaps laminate and make general notices re-usable.
Consider using re-chargeable batteries for LAV mics, transmitters, headsets and flashlights.
Donate wardrobe, prop and set items to charitable organizations, or re-sell if possible, instead of throwing them away.
And, as we still find ourselves needing to follow COVID safety procedures, encourage crew members to wear and bring their own cloth/reusable masks for both comfort and sustainability. If there are paper masks used, it is good practice to ensure ear loops are cut, and masks and wipes are disposed of properly.
Lastly, from the very beginning of the creative process, think about ways the overall concept, script, action and set can model good sustainable behaviors. Because ultimately, we are leaders in crafting communication and messaging, and the more we all adhere to and incorporate these Earth-friendly and green practices into our projects, the better we will all be.