5 Tips for creating a more eco-friendly film set
Once you have decided upon launching a more environmentally conscious production, it can be tricky to know where to start. Different projects will be motivated into going green, for a wide range of varying reasons.
Perhaps there's a financial or social incentive behind the decision? Perhaps you're part of a team that simply believes it's the right thing to do? Whatever your reason, we commend you. This is the future of filmmaking, and our planet needs more thinkers and doers, like you!
So, where should we start, when planning for an eco-friendly film set? What if you aren't a producer but want to make a difference, in your own way?
Here are five useful tips, to get you started:
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Yes, you guessed it. We want to start by thinking about the end of the process - our waste. Make sure there are steps in place to separate landfill trash from recyclables. You can do this yourself by assigning different bins for different waste - do ensure each bin is clearly labelled.
From mixed recycling, to plastic (check the type!), to fabric, glass, paper, cans, wood... Whatever you think could be recycled - or reused - make a place for it to be accumulated. Source reused set-dressings, set-build and wardrobe options, where you can and choose composting for food and craft services, or donate anything left over to a charity or homeless shelter. Always avoid plastic nasties wherever and however you can, and schedule in regular collection of recyclables and waste, by the council or an ethical removal company.
2. Roam Responsibly
If you can, when travelling, always opt for a more green choice of transport. Could you can get around by foot or by bicycle? Is it possible for staff to work from home some days, to eliminate their need to travel? If driving vehicles is a must, find ways to use cleaner alternatives to petrol and diesel engines. From electric, to bio-fuel, to hybrid, there are plenty of options out there. And while waiting on a lot, implement a 'no idling' policy, so all engines are switched off when not in use.
Use local cast and crew, too. Saving money and energy when it comes to flights, trains and car journeys is a definite benefit, but you are also paying it forward to the local economy, which is great.
And, wherever possible, set up carpool options; sharing journeys is not only better for the environment, but is positive from a social aspect, too.
3. Energy Efficiency, Every Time
Where would we be without energy? We all know how essential it is to do what we do, so why not use it in more efficient, and responsible ways?
Whether you power down the lights when not in use, or use rechargeable batteries in the place of disposable ones, you'll be making an important difference to the environment, and production costs, too. Smart swaps, such as moving towards LED light use, or maximising natural light where possible, can also help improve your energy efficiency on set and location.
Then, think about where the energy source is originating from. Are you seeking local suppliers, or renewable resources? From solar power to wind farms, there are many options available, which are always a better choice compared to gas or coal.
4. Act the Part
Not only can you and your team begin thinking more green, by developing more environmentally friendly habits, but you can encourage the same behaviour to be performed in front of the camera, too. Why not have recycle bins in the background for one of the scenes? Or have a character be growing their own veggies or composting food scraps? Perhaps the characters walk or cycle, instead of drive? Think about what messages you're conveying in your projects, and how you can send a positive, green message out into the world.
5. Track, Learn, Advance
Keep a check of all your energy outgoings and use of resources. Where could you have saved money? What aspects of your production were less environmentally sound? Think about what worked and what didn't, in terms of sustainability, and use the information for your next shoot days, or future productions. This can be more effective if you keep a written log, with any evidence and photographs of what worked. If needed, it may be a good idea to appoint someone as Head of Sustainability, or having more Eco-Advocates, on the production team. Make sure all cast and crew know that they are working on a green project, and try to let everyone know how they can do their bit, to meet the goals you're aiming to achieve for the production.
Together, every single person on your team can make a huge difference to the future of the project, of film, and for the planet.
Do you have anything you'd like to add to this? Any tips or tricks you use on set? Or even in the production office? Join the conversation on twitter by using hashtag #TeamGreenFox with your thoughts on how we can make film greener, together.