As an industry overall, photography and video productions do a horrible job of considering the environmental impact of our shoots. Let’s focus on how we can turn a standard shoot day into an environmentally friendly, “carbon zero” shoot day.
1. Ditch the bottled water, juices and sodas – Use cups an coffee mugs that are not disposable, water filters and juices mixes that require less packaging. I purchased 40 reusable plastic cups made from recycled plastic at Whole Foods and own two Brita filters. We save hundreds of dollars a year on shoots we produce by not having to buy bottled water. And when the clients find out why they get a fluorescent green cup, we get extra kudos.
2. For coffee and during meal time, use non-disposable mugs, plates and silverware. Nice plates and cloth napkins are also a classy touch that save trees and reduce waste. Again, this is a huge cost savings and the organic cotton cloth napkins I purchased look far nicer to the art director then the 500 napkins for $3 option. If you must use disposable plates, use the compostable variety and take them to a municipal composter; locations can be found at www.findacomposter.com.
3. Use less paper – most of us do this already. Review documents onscreen instead of printing them out, send e-mails instead of paper letters, print on both sides of the page when appropriate and use misprints as notepaper. Software like Greenprint eliminates blank pages from documents before printing and can convert to PDF for paperless document sharing.
4. Use biodegradable soaps and cloth towels in the studio’s or location’s bathroom and kitchen. Use biodegradable cleaners or provide them for the custodial staff.
5. Use three trash bags to specify a location for waste — landfill, recycling, compost. A shoot of five people should have about one small bag of trash for landfill per week. Most items can be recycled, reused or composted!!
6. Plan ahead and use ground shipping instead of rush air shipping. This saves a ton of money too!
7. Carpool. Carpool. Carpool. This is especially true if productions are more than 15 miles from your town. Try www.icarpool.com or a similar website to help coordinate carpooling.
8. For emissions that you cannot avoid such as airplane travel, purchase Carbon Offsets. These are relatively cheap (far less than you catering will cost), and while not as good as not polluting in the first place, they are better than nothing. Native Energy is a well respected option.
It’s not always possible to make all of these changes happen on every shoot, but one or two changes are better than none.