Major Movie Studios Avoid a Load Of Rubbish

Originally posted by the Environmental Media Association (www.ema-online.org)

Los Angeles — The major movie studios collectively diverted more than 40 million pounds — or 66 percent — of their studio sets and other solid waste from landfills last year, according to the Solid Waste Task Force, a joint program of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). That's three percent more than they diverted from landfills last year, and 23 percent more than was diverted just 15 years ago.

"This marks an all-time high for the studios in reusing and recycling," said MPAA President and Interim CEO Bob Pisano. "On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, I want to commend the studios for their dedication to environmentally responsible practices and for their commitment to combating global climate change. Their enthusiasm for going green sets a great example for other businesses and for individuals everywhere."

The studios' eco-friendly focus helps them recycle nearly everything these days — even the food leftover on employees' plates. The studios are putting a halt to food waste at their facilities. Food is one of the largest sources of waste in California, and it doesn't just end up clogging landfills. The food waste rotting in landfills adds dangerous levels of methane to the atmosphere. In order to lessen their ecological footprint, the studios began diverting their food waste to compost. The result is a lot less trash. The diversion converts materials headed for the trash bin into a rich soil.

The following includes other highlights of the major film studios' environmentally friendly policies:

- Continuing to lead industry recycling efforts, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures helped create a process for movie theatres to recycle trailers and 3D glasses. In the first year, this has resulted in the recycling of more than 400 tons of material, which would have previously gone to landfills. The studio has also established an Environmental Steward role on live action films. A vital member of the production team, this role has helped spearhead recycling efforts (including office consumables, water bottles and set construction materials), reduce vehicle emissions, treat and process hazardous waste and drive awareness and participation in environmental efforts among cast and crew.

- Fox continues to raise the bar for environmentally friendly film and TV production. "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" became the fourth Fox film to use the same sets and construction materials and disassembled them afterwards so that future productions could continue the trend. The production did not use a single plastic water bottle either on set or on location, and implemented innovations such as building elevated walkways in remote locations to keep cast and crew off of vegetation and bringing in transformers in order to use clean, hydroelectric power instead of diesel generators for power. Fox Television Studios has maintained its rigorous green policies in the breakdown of their shows and are proud to report that they have not sent anything to landfill since 2007. In accordance with the standards of the Fox Green Guide, FTVS utilizes video conferencing to cut down on air travel, views production cuts electronically instead of using single-use DVDs, establishes recycling stations around productions, distributes documents electronically instead of using paper documents, bans plastic water bottles on set and distributes reusable water containers.

- Among one of the more successful practices established at Universal is the use of "split" waste bins. These bins are designed to help cast, crew and others separate compostables from trash and recycling. They are available to productions and complement the existing food recycling programs on the Universal lot. They have proven to increase the amount of material that is composted and not sent to a landfill.

- In an effort to dramatically reduce single-use and five-gallon bottled water consumption on the studio lot, Paramount installed bottle-less water filtration systems across the property, including offices, conference rooms and The Dining Room. Orders of five-gallon water jugs have decreased by 80 percent, and the company reduced annual orders of individual water bottles by approximately 100,000 bottles.

- Sustainability continues to be a focus for Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) with ongoing improvements on its studio lot, productions and supply chain in the past year. In addition to continued operation of solar energy panels on the roof of the Jimmy Stewart building, the studio opened two new office buildings constructed to LEED standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. The studio made a commitment to become a zero waste company and launched a unique partnership with the City of Culver City to compost organic waste. The pilot program is off to a strong start with a successful diversion rate of more than 80 percent in December 2009.

- Warner Bros.' Stage 23 received a LEED Gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first LEED-certified sound stage in the world. Completed in 2009, the stage incorporates a number of sustainable elements, including a 100-kilowatt solar electrical system; Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber; Ice Bear cooling technology, which uses off-peak electricity for daytime cooling; recycled steel and metals; concrete foundations containing recycled fly ash; and energy efficient lighting. Additionally, the 1930s building that was previously on the stage's site was carefully deconstructed so that 92 percent of its materials were reused or recycled, diverting 1,890 tons of material from landfills.

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