How green is your set? If you’re not careful, productions can leave behind an enormous footprint, full of plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, endless clumps of gaffer tape, and any other material you can imagine.
Commercial director Jordan Brady invited his friend and fellow director Kristyna Archer to audit one of his commercial sets for True Gentleman Industries. In addition to being a talented director, Kristyna is also an eco-evangelist. Luckily, running a green set doesn’t need to be difficult at all. It’s all a matter of mindset.
Follow along below to learn how you can audit your own set to ensure that it’s environmentally friendly!
WATCH HOW TO BE GREEN
Follow along as Kristyna examines Jordan’s set and highlights the do’s and don’ts. Then, she shares the alternatives you should consider to improve the footprint of your own production.
1. DISTINCT TRASH AND RECYCLING BINS
How often do you step on set and find one bin with an assortment of trash and recyclables? For example, when Kristyna looks into a lone blue bin, she finds much more than just plastics or paper products.
You can remedy this by keeping a trash bin next to a blue recycling bin. Production is busy so you need to organize your set to make recycling second nature.
The same goes for catering. Keep a green bin nearby for your food waste and organics, it’s that simple!
2. WATER STATION WITH RECYCLABLE CUPS
How many times have you walked on set and found an endless supply of plastic water bottles? This is an absolute no-no when it comes to maintaining a sustainable set.
Instead, use a water station so workers can replenish their refillable water bottles. And if you use disposable cups, make sure that they are recyclable. If they’re coated in plastic then they’re no good! Remember, paper beats plastic.
If you can’t get around a disposable water solution, then turn to water in aluminum cans. Aluminum is better than plastic because it breaks down much faster.
3. RECYCLE SET PIECES
There are plenty of ways for the art department to make environmentally sound decisions. One major tactic is to reuse art supplies and set pieces.
When collaborating with the art department, make it known that sustainability is a must.
4. PAPER RECYCLING VS WATER WASTE
Waste is pretty much unavoidable when it comes to catering. This is where you need to use discernment and weigh the pros and cons. You can use paper plates but they can create a lot of waste. Although, if you use something like ceramic plates, they require washing which creates water waste.
There’s no ideal solution. Consider the size and scale of the production. Less water is needed to clean reusable plates and utensils for smaller productions. For larger productions, maybe use biodegradable paper plates. Either way, this should be a topic of discussion for your production team to choose the right solution for you.
5. LED LIGHTS ARE MORE SUSTAINABLE
Even the lighting packages you choose impact the environment. LED lights are the most sustainable lights. They’re not only more efficient but they are cooler than traditional movie lights. That way, it’s not so hot on stage.
When choosing your lighting package, have a conversation with your cinematographer and key grip about the best environmental lights.
THE BOTTOM LINE
All in all, maintaining a green set is easier than most think. It’s a matter of mindset and how you plan the production. If you are mindful of eco-friendly practices, you will embrace them during the planning process.
As we discussed, distinctive bins for trash and recycling are ideal for separating paper and plastics from waste. A water station beats plastic bottles every day of the week, and if you need a disposable option, go with aluminum cans. Communicate with the art department to determine ways to reuse set pieces. Consider paper recycling versus water waste based on the size and scale of the production. And when it comes to lighting packages, LEDs are the most efficient.
Kristyna also challenges her executive producers and production company to convey their green message to the brands and clients they work with. At the end of the day, sustainability is a collaborative process.
For many filmmakers, environmental filmmaking is a new way of thinking. They’re focused on their campaigns and the creative. And sure, that’s first and foremost when it comes to getting more jobs. But, ultimately, filmmakers like Kristyna hope to also limit their footprint in production for the betterment of us all.