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Guideline to Green Production

Happy Earth Day! This year, we’ve put together a guideline to going green on your next production. Check out the resources below.

 


What is Green Production?

Green Production is a specific business strategy that practices sustainability on set. Sustainable practices support ecological, human and economic health, and vitality. The Utah Film Commission encourages and supports green production practices in all areas of the filmmaking process. Our Green Productions page has a list of resources that range from local businesses, green production practices, and financial data.


Green Production practices within Film Departments

  • ART & SET DECORATIONS
    • Sell or donate unwanted set materials to local theatres, high schools, acting schools or other productions before opting for disposal
    • Support charities that are willing to pick up, recycle and reuse materials
        • CONSTRUCTION
          • Rent or lease larger items such as furniture and computers as an alternative to purchasing
        • MATERIALS
          • Select paint and products with environmentally friendly labels
          • Dispose of paints and other hazardous materials in a responsible manner, e.g. returning paints to retailers, or store for future use
          • Do not allow residuals from washing paint down storm drains
          • Use recycled wood from managed forests but be mindful of old-growth or endangered species
    • CAMERA
    • Unplug video players, monitors, and other similar equipment
    • Use digital processes for filming and sound recording, if allowed
    • When using film, ensure that suppliers have end-of-life management programs and remain compliant with local regulations for disposal of photogenic processing chemicals
    • Avoid sending the waste film to landfills by asking your supplier about recycling or other eco-friendly options
    • Use environmentally considerate textiles on frames instead of poly-based materials for bounce and filtration
    • Recycle color gels so they can be used for future production
  • ELECTRIC
    • Use hydroelectric based power when possible to avoid emissions from generators
    • Replace flickering, dim, and burned out lamps
    • Replace light bulbs with lower-wattage, longer life, or energy-efficient alternatives, such as fluorescent
  • CATERING & CRAFT SERVICES
    • Buy organic and locally grown food to offset greenhouse gas emissions
    • Dispose of liquid wastes at approved disposal sites; do not use storm drains
    • Have recycling bins for plastic, glass, cans, and metals near craft services and catering trucks
    • Create easy to read signage that details proper practices, post information for cast and crew to remember good environmental practices
    • Use reusable plates, cups, utensils, and linens whenever you can instead of using disposables
    • Avoid using Styrofoam and plastics as much as possible
    • If paper products are unavoidable, look for ones with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content
    • Encourage cast and crew to use personal travel mugs
  • ECO-MANAGEMENT
    • Purchase reusable water bottles for cast and crew
    • Rent portable water dispensers
    • Rent recycling and waste receptacles
    • Reduce paper use
  • HAIR & MAKE-UP
    • Use brands that minimize packaging, as well as those that are committed to avoiding animal testing and use of ingredients that cause adverse health effects
    • Use refills to avoid disposing of non-recyclable make-up containers, avoid the use of aerosols, when possible
    • Purchase products from signatories of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, a pledge to produce safer products and provide ingredient transparency
    • Look for products made with organic ingredients
    • Purchase products that can be refilled, and look for products with recyclable or biodegradable packaging
    • Place recycling bins near hair and make-up stations, and take advantage of programs like Origins’ Return to Origins Recycling Program, which recycles empty cosmetic containers returned to their stores, regardless of brand
  • LOCATIONS
    • Choose alternative fuel vehicles (hybrids, electric, flex-fuel) for long drives
    • When possible, scout locations via public transit, bicycle (with a helmet), foot or carpool
    • After choosing a location, determine ways to reduce your environmental impact there. Work with the location contact to ensure that the best methods for preservation and protection of the site are followed
    • Include public transit information with maps given to cast and crew
        • LOCATION PREP
          • Try to make all signage out of recycled or recyclable materials. 
          • Use only elastic bands or string to hang signs on trees—never staples, thumbtacks or tape, all of which can severely damage trees.
          • Protect interior locations with corrugated cardboard made with post-consumer recycled content. When available, consider using reusable, cut-to-size, plastic mats. 
          • Set up garbage and recycling stations according to the location’s waste separation guidelines for prep crews. Also set up sustainable hydration systems for prep crews.
        • SENSITIVE LANDSCAPES
          • Contain all vehicle and foot traffic within the production vicinity, and cordon off any areas with particularly sensitive vegetation or wildlife
          • Ensure that all film-related activities are carefully managed to prevent damage to the landscape
          • Reinstate any land or vegetation that are damaged as a result of production activities
          • Scan the area thoroughly before leaving to ensure that nothing is left behind and that the area reflects its pre-production condition
  • PRODUCTION OFFICE
    • Use applications and paperless script solutions to reduce your paper use or go paperless altogether
    • Think before you print
    • Set up compost, garbage, recycling stations according to your hauling company’s waste separation guidelines
    • Have the same compost, garbage, recycle plan in the office as on set
    • Create easy to read signage that details proper practices for composting and recycling
    • Turn off non-essential lighting, computers, monitors, printers, etc. when not in use or not in the office
        • LIGHTING
          • Use fluorescent, CFL or LED lighting
          • Turn off lights before leaving a room
          • Use desk lamps instead of overhead lights where possible, and keep all non-essential lighting turned off
          • Raise the blinds and work by daylight whenever possible
          • Explore alternative energy options, like solar and wind
        • COMPUTERS & ELECTRONICS
          • Disable screen savers and program computers to enter sleep mode after several idle minutes
          • Plug daily use appliances, like computers, printers, monitors and copy machines, into power strips and power everything down when not in use
          • Keep all peripheral equipment unplugged when not in use
          • Use laptops instead of desktops because they are more energy-efficient
          • Rent office equipment instead of purchasing when practical
        • HEAT & AIR
          • Ask the building manager or landlord about solar and/or wind power options and using natural gas over-heating oil
          • Install a programmable thermostat that automatically lowers the heat or air conditioning overnight
          • Lower the thermostat two degrees in the winter and raise it two degrees in the summer. The comfort loss is usually minimal when compared with the energy savings
          • Use fans instead of air conditioning when possible
          • When the temperature allows, turn off fans and open a window
          • Keep doors and windows closed when running heat or air
          • Avoid using space heaters, but when they are unavoidable, be sure to turn them off before leaving the room
        • PAPER
          • Promote electronic communication and limit paper offering to when it’s specifically requested
          • Choose paper made from at least 30% post-consumer recycled content
          • Print double-sided
          • Reuse single-sided sheets for test prints and rough drafts
          • Use dry-erase boards or chalkboards for in-office information sharing
          • Encourage tablet use over hard copies
          • Store information online in web-based emails, or with an online project collaboration tool
          • For more sensitive information, use flash drives instead of CDs
          • Choose a thinner font, such as Century Gothic, which, when printed, can use as much as 30% less ink than thicker fonts
          • Print signage on paper and other biodegradable materials rather than plastic
          • If possible, request that Accounting Departments consider revamping the Production Policies Sign-off into a single page form and check reports electronically, saving an estimated 70+ reams of paper over the course of an average size production
        • SUPPLIES
          • Use rechargeable batteries, remanufactured ink cartridges and soy-based inks
          • Look for office products made with a high percentage of recycled content, and for products certified by Green Seal or another eco-certifier
          • Look for water-based markers that have been approved by the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI)
          • Browse thrift stores and used office supply dealers for office furniture
          • Ask for minimal packaging when ordering supplies
          • Carry reusable bags for all shopping runs and errands
  • TRANSPORTATION
    • Plan ahead. Take only trucks and technical equipment needed for the day/location
    • Plan travel to avoid peak traffic periods, roadwork and getting lost
    • Use alternative fuel vehicles and purchase the cleanest fuel available
    • Monitor fuel efficiency, maintain appropriate tire-pressure, and reduce unnecessary travel
    • Create a no-idling policy. Idling for an hour wastes one gallon of gas  it is bad for your health, and it is illegal in many cities, including in Salt Lake City and Park City
    • Avoid short journeys in the car, try walking, riding bikes, or use public transportation when you have the options
    • Whenever possible, power down any generator that is not in use

This information was compiled from the Utah Film Commission Green Production, Producer’s Guild of America Green Production Guide, NBC Universal Sustainable Production Guide, and Going Green & Saving Green cost-benefit analysis.

Allie Russell is the Marketing Coordinator at the Utah Film Commission, based in Salt Lake City. For any press and media inquiries, contact the Utah Film Commission at film@utah.gov

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