Green Filmmaking





  • Use lighting that significantly cuts energy usage, including compact fluorescent torchieres and light bulbs (instead of halogen and incandescent).
  • Choose energy efficient equipment and appliances (refrigerators, dishwashers, copiers, etc). Look for the Energy Star label to choose the most efficient models.
  • Turn off computers, printers, monitors, copy machines, and appliances when not in use, overnight and on weekends.
  • Set computer monitors to sleep mode to save energy when not in use. Unplug chargers for mobile phones, cameras and other equipment when not in use. Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night.
  • If you have windows that open, open them whenever possible, but keep doors and windows closed when the air conditioning or heating is on.
  • Turn off the lights when leaving a room and install occupancy sensors where possible.
  • Open blinds and use natural lighting when possible.
  • Turn off non-essential and decorative lighting, especially in unoccupied areas.
  • Use desk lamps or area lamps instead of overhead lights. Use a laptop computer instead of a desktop computer.
  • Purchase flat screen over conventional tube based televisions.
  • Ensure that refrigerators and freezers operate efficiently by defrosting regularly and check that they are set to the optimum temperature.
  • Reduce paper usage: print double-sided documents (e.g. scripts & call sheets) whenever possible, and use paper only printed on one side as scrap. Consider the use of paperless solutions, such as tablet PCs, digital distribution, and online sharing. Reuse office supplies where possible.
  • Buy office supplies – copier paper, stationary, envelopes, and paper clips – made with as high a percentage of recycled content as possible. Use rechargeable batteries.
  • Use real dishes and silverware whenever possible. If you must use disposables, buy paper plates made from recycled paper or biodegradable plates and cutlery made from cornstarch. Avoid Styrofoam. Buy remanufactured or soy-based ink and toner cartridges.
  • Use non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  • Use reusable boards for scheduling (dry-erase, chalkboards, magnetic) rather than printing. Print all large format signage on environmentally friendly, biodegradable sign material, such as polyethylene. Buy fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee. Use reusable or unbleached, chlorine-free coffee filters.
  • Dispose of batteries, compact fluorescent bulbs and electronic equipment through a certified hazardous waste vendor, as required by law. Recycle ink and toner cartridges. Provide adequate facilities for recycling paper, glass, aluminum, plastic and cardboard. Raise staff awareness about recycling facilities in the office and on location.
  • Donate old equipment, and recycle any equipment that can’t be donated. Replace disposable products with durable alternatives. Return redundant mobile phones, batteries, paint, and chemicals to retailers for recycling.
  • Collect organic waste and convert it to compost in a bin. Ask suppliers to take back packaging for large items such as computers and furniture. Dispose of any unavoidable waste safely.

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  • Use paints, sealants and lacquers that are low (or no) emission (low VOC) and less toxic. Avoid spray paint. Use leftover paint from previous productions as primer and recycle what is unused. Follow studio safety guidelines for handling paint, brushes, and rags – these cannot be disposed of in regular trash.
  • Use alternative or certified Renewable/Sustainable building materials for set construction instead of rainforest hardwoods like lauan. Alternatives include farmed maple or birch. Look for woods grown locally. Try alternatives to wood, such as sorghum, bamboo, palm, or engineered wood.
  • Use reusable steel scaffolding rather than wood platforms. Re-use materials when possible. Contact the studio regarding reusing or donating unwanted and/or unused production materials and supplies to low-income families or need-based organizations. Make efforts to recycle as much as possible, including set construction materials such as lumber. Begin planning during the earliest stages of preproduction. Consult with your studio for assistance with planned recycling. Schedule strike time to include deconstruction of sets for donation and recycling to reduce costs.
  • Recycle green waste, wood, metal, and carpet used in set construction and dressing. Close elephant doors when the air conditioning is on (some have automatic switches).
  • Use non-toxic building materials whenever possible. Turn off power, HVAC, catwalk and house lights when not in use and before leaving. Recycle polystyrene blocks. Save money by consolidating unused paint for donation. Turn off appliances before leaving.


  • Use alternative fuel (CNG, biodiesel, ethanol) or hybrid vehicles (car, trucks, vans, forklifts) wherever possible.
  • Do fleet deals with rental companies for alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles.
  • Use alternative production vehicles and equipment (e.g., solar powered golf/service carts).
  • When using diesel-powered generators, where possible insist on using bio-diesel or ultra-low sulfur diesel. Use catalyzed particulate filter to reduce emissions.
  • Turn off generators when not in use. Enforce no idling rules for all vehicles on set. Reduce/minimize trips for both local runs and flights
  • Plan to take only the trucks and technical equipment needed for the day to location.
  • Offer incentives for car pools; provide information on public transit options.
  • Encourage local purchasing (where cost-effective) to cut energy for delivery.
  • Turn off air conditioning in unoccupied trailers.
  • Use hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles, as well as mini coaches and vans, for all talent and crew transportation.
  • Encourage 100% car pooling of technicians and crews in rental vehicles.
  • Encourage participation through teleconferencing rather than traveling to meetings.
  • Make efforts to reduce the size of the production by encouraging above-the-line talent to share trailers.
  • Use rerefined motor oil and dispose of properly. Use compact fluorescent or solar power lighting in trailers.
  • Condense deliveries into as few vehicles and trips as possible.
  • When flights are necessary, only use commercial airlines where possible.
  • Maintain vehicles in optimum operating condition.
  • Drive smoothly and keep speeds down to optimize fuel consumption.

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  • Recycle film. Unplug video players, television monitors and other similar equipment with stand-by mode when not in use and at the end of the day.
  • When purchasing or renting equipment, ask about energy-efficient alternatives or inquire about more efficient ways to use the equipment.
  • Use digital dailies, if available and appropriate.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and always recycle dead batteries through a certified hazardous or e- waste vendor.


  • Explore energy efficient alternatives to traditional lighting packages.
  • When shooting digitally, encourage testing to discover the optimal lighting package.
  • Perform detailed inspection on lighting equipment to ensure proper functioning.
  • Turn off lighting not currently in use.


  • When replacing light bulbs, replace with lower-wattage, longer life, cool lamps or energy-efficient alternatives such as fluorescents.
  • Use backings made from organic material whenever possible.
  • Use adhesives made from natural, nontoxic materials (no petroleum based products).
  • Encourage the use of fluorescent lights for work areas on location.
  • Use environmentally considerate textiles on frames instead of poly based materials for bounce and filtration.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and always recycle dead batteries through a certified hazardous or e-waste vendor.
  • Use dimmers to rest lights between setups rather than switching lights on and off. Recycle color gels that can be used by future production.

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  • Avoid burning materials such as plastic, rubber, diesel fuel, etc.
  • Limit the amount of hazardous materials purchased, used, and stored on location.
  • Use propane rather than liquid fuel for fire effects where available.
  • Reduce environmental impact by using water based smoke fluids.
  • Use biodegradable artificial snow products.


  • Request an environmentally friendly garment cleaner when cleaning costumes.
  • Use low energy washers and dryers. Buy nontoxic, environmentally friendly detergents. Reuse coat hangers and plastic garment covers.
  • Donate clothing to local charities at the end of production.
  • Purchase or rent second-hand clothing and accessories when appropriate.
  • Purchase clothes made out of organic cotton or other natural materials.
  • Repair and alter garments rather than buying new.
  • Buy clothes made in the U.S. whenever possible.


  • Use refills to avoid disposing of non-recyclable make-up containers.
  • Investigate organic alternatives for make-up, hair care and personal hygiene products.
  • Avoid the use of aerosols containing ozone-depleting substances.
  • Select cruelty-free make-up, hair and personal care products, as well as those that meet the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, where possible.
  • Favor make-up, hair and cosmetic brands that use less packaging.
  • Purchase in bulk where possible.
  • Have recycling bins readily available to make-up staff.

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  • Clean and recycle all food and beverage containers, and flatten and recycle cardboard.
  • Use biodegradable plates and cutlery made from sustainable materials, such as soy, cornstarch, potato, sugarcane, or use paper plates made from recycled paper.
  • Encourage the use of reusable cups, mugs, plates, and utensils where possible.
  • Give each crew member their own personal water bottle and provide refill stations.
  • When using outdoor grill barbecues, use propane or natural gas.
  • When hiring caterers, request organic, locally-grown, and free range food.
  • Donate unused food to local charities. Use non-toxic cleaning supplies.
  • Never use Styrofoam and avoid plastic whenever possible.
  • Switch to a reusable filter in your coffee maker.
  • Caterers should use low-emission fuels to prepare, heat food, etc.
  • Snip plastic six-pack rings, which can endanger ocean birds and sea life.
  • Turn off coffee makers and other service items when not in use and at the end of the day.
  • Obtain as accurate a headcount as possible so as not to over order.
  • Purchase in bulk where possible.
  • Use cloth tablecloths and napkins instead of paper whenever possible.
  • Use trash bags and liners made of recycled content or biodegradable materials.

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  • Use digital post-production workflow systems, if available and appropriate.
  • Make use of the energy saving features for equipment and computers.
  • Distribute projects and demonstration reels on DVD or via other digital means where appropriate.
  • Refer to production office procedures for environmentally friendly procedures in the post- production office.


  • Minimize DVD packaging and make with as much renewable or sustainable content as possible.
  • Use electronic press kits (EPKs).

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