Best Practices

What are you doing to address the environmental footprint of your department?

Here you will find resources to help you plan for, communicate, and implement sustainable production practices. Navigate the departments below to see some best practices you can implement on your production.

Looking for more? Take a look at the industry standard resources for sustainable production by the Green Production Guide.

The Green Production Guide has developed a series of open sourced tools including a carbon calculator to help productions implement sustainable practices effectively and easily. These tools were developed by film industry professionals including the Producers Guild of America Foundation with primary support from Disney, Amblin Partners, 20th Century Fox, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros.


  • There are many basic things that everyone can do, no matter in what department they work.

    • Ensure the set is equipped with recycling facilities
    • Ensure all crew members are aware of environmental standards for the production
    • Where possible minimise the use of disposable items
    • Buy environmentally friendly products with recycled content
    • Use environmentally responsible cleaning products on location
    • If composting is available, provide food waste bins for use on set
    • Provide facilities for the disposal of chewing gum and provide butt buckets or personal/pocket ashtrays for cast and crew
    • Familiarise crew regarding the Code of Conduct for Filming in BC
    • Identify any unique guidelines or regulations associated with the location including local, provincial and First Nations protocols
    • Identify potential environmental impacts when assessing film locations for health and safety risks
    • Include environmental protection control measures in call sheets to raise awareness among cast and crew
    • Use spill kits and storm water drain covers as part of the standard equipment for working on location
  • From script to vision, from design to build, from shooting and wrap; planning is everything when sourcing materials, building sets, and diverting waste from landfills.

    • 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
    • Where appropriate 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, storing paints for future use
    • Do not allow paint or residuals from washing paint brushes to enter storm drains
    • Use recycled wood or wood from managed forests (Avoid Old Growth or endangered species)
    • Rent or lease larger items such as furniture and computers as an alternative to purchasing

    • Unplug video players, monitors and other similar equipment
    • When purchasing or renting equipment ask about energy-efficient alternatives or enquire about more efficient ways to use the equipment
    • Where quality allows, use digital processes for filming and sound recording
    • When using film, check that your suppliers have end of life management programs compliant with local regulations for disposal of photographic processing chemicals
    • Avoid sending waste film to landfills by asking your supplier about recycling or other ecofriendly options


    • Encourage the use of reusable cutlery, plates and cups rather than using disposable items
    • Buy organic and locally grown food to help offset greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants associated with the transportation of food
    • Apply fair trade principles when selecting imported food products e.g. coffee, tea, chocolate and bananas
    • Ensure that recycling facilities are available on location, for plastic, glass, cans and metals
    • Use lunch locations as places to post and inform cast and crew of good environmental practices
    • Encourage the use of personal travel mugs to discourage the consumption of disposable waxed paper cups
    • Dispose of liquid wastes at approved disposal sites; DO NOT use storm drains


    • Purchase second-hand or recycled clothing and accessories when appropriate
    • Support Canadian and BC designers with environmental credentials
    • Avoid the use of garments and accessories made from endangered species
    • Repair and alter garments rather than buying new
    • Avoid clothes requiring Dry Cleaning processes
    • Prefer dry-cleaners who use energy-efficient machines and do not use the solvent perchloroethylene
    • Re-use coat hangers and plastic garment covers
    • Store and recycle garments/costumes when possible


  • Donating food is a great way to reduce food waste and help those in need. Food donations are encouraged and legal in every province!

    Below is a list of charities and non-profit organizations you can donate to. Please note that organizations may request total weight of food donation, labelling, and advance notice before drop-off. 

    Food donation drop-off locations have been compiled by Keep it Green Recycling and Green Spark Group. 
    • Use hydro electric based power when possible to avoid emissions from generators
    • Replace flickering, dim and burned out lamps
    • When replacing light bulbs, replace with lower-wattage, longer life, cool lamps or energy-efficient alternatives such as fluorescents
    • Use dimmers to rest lights between setups rather than switching lights on and off
    • 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
    • Recycle colour gels so that they can be used in future production
    • Favour make-up, hair and cosmetic brands that use less packaging
    • Where possible select make-up, hair and personal care brands committed to avoiding animal testing and the use of ingredients that cause adverse health effects e.g. products that are cruelty-free and meet the criteria of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics
    • Use refills to avoid disposing of non-recyclable make-up containers
    • Investigate organic alternatives for make-up, hair care and personal hygiene products
    • Have recycling bins readily available to make-up staff
    • Avoid the use of aerosols containing ozone-depleting substances
    • Where possible purchase in bulk to avoid unnecessary travel
  • Material reuse is a key sustainable production practice and a great way to save money.

    At strike, take materials to the Material Reuse Centre run by Keep it Green Recycling instead of paying to put them in a landfill.  

    Need materials? Make an appointment to browse and take what you need for free.  This cuts down on labour to build sets, and cuts cost on material purchases.


    • Flats
    • Plywood
    • Doors
    • Windows
    • Wood
    • Carpet
    • Linoleum
    • Any reuseable items

    This is a great solution for the B.C. motion picture industry and for a sustainable future. To schedule your drop-off or pickup, please email:

    Visit the Material Reuse Centre website for more info.

    • If available and appropriate, use digital post-production workflow systems
    • Avoid tape
    • Make use of the energy saving features for equipment and computers
    • Where compatible with clients, distribute projects and demonstration reels on DVD or via other digital means
    • In the office environment, apply purchasing, energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction practices
    • If using traditional film, consider appropriate water filtration systems when processing film
  • The integration of physical and visual effects ensures that impacts to the environment are lessened.

    • Reduce environmental impacts by using water based smoke fluids
    • Where possible, use propane rather than liquid fuel for fire effects
    • Recycle scrap steel and aluminum
    • Refer to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for artificial snow products

  • Many of the activities involved in motion picture production are office-based.

    This can include the actual production office as well as satellite offices such as Post Production, Construction and Corporate Offices. As with any business, there are environmental impacts associated with day-to-day office activities including paper use, energy and water use, waste generation and transportation.

    It is up to each and every one of us to change our habits to promote a green environment. By practicing the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle, we can minimize the environmental impacts associated with many office-based activities.

    Paper Usage - Avoid it!

    • Use apps/paperless script solutions to reduce your paper use or go paperless all together - it can be done!
    • TBYP - think before you print – assess whether a hard copy is necessary
    • Enforce a no paper policy
    • If printing is necessary:

                   > Select double-sided printing by default

                   > Print only revised script pages

    • Print scripts by demand only
    • Create a recycling plan for the production office
    • Ensure paper recycling bins are readily available
    • Purchase recycled paper products with eco-labels
    • Use recycled ink cartridges where available


    Energy Usage

    • Use lighting that significantly reduces energy usage (ie: CFLs, or lower wattage bulbs)
    • Use specific task lighting to light work areas and lower the height of light fixtures to increase usable light
    • Open blinds and use natural lighting when possible
    • Install dimmers or occupancy sensor switches in low use areas like stairwells, washrooms and storage areas
    • Turn off non-essential and decorative lighting, especially in unoccupied areas
    • Turn off computers, monitors, printers and photocopiers when not in use, overnight and on weekends. If unable to switch off the entire computer, turn off the monitor and printer. Don’t use screen savers
    • When buying computers, monitors, printers, and photocopiers, favour models with good energy-efficiency ratings that can switch to a power-saving mode when not in use
    • Use a laptop computer instead of a desktop computer
    • Unplug chargers for mobile phones, cameras and other equipment when not in use
    • Purchase flat screens over conventional tube based televisions
    • When purchasing or renting equipment, ask about energy efficient alternatives or enquire about more efficient ways to use the equipment
    • Ensure that refrigerators and freezers operate efficiently by defrosting regularly and check that they are set to the optimum temperature

    Water: Heating, Appliances, Wastewater

    • Use energy efficient appliances (refrigerators, dishwashers, etc.)
    • Ensure that washing machines and dishwashers are used with full loads or use economy settings
    • Turn your thermostat down
    • Where possible use the cold wash setting
    • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
    • Discourage staff from leaving water running
    • Identify and prevent hazardous substances from entering wastewater and storm water systems
    • Provide spill kits and storm water drain covers and train designated staff in their use

    Waste disposal and recycling

    • Provide adequate facilities for recycling paper, glass, aluminum, plastic and cardboard
    • Raise staff awareness about recycling facilities in the office and on location
    • Collect organic waste and convert it to compost in a bin
    • Replace disposable products with durable alternatives
    • Support products with recycled content over those made from virgin materials
    • Ask suppliers to take back packaging for large items such as computers and furniture
    • Recycle printer cartridges
    • Use rechargeable batteries and dispose of batteries properly
    • Monitor the amount of waste going to landfills
    • Provide reusable, recyclable and/or biodegradable serving products, instead of Styrofoam and plastic products
    • Recycle redundant computers, monitors and printers
    • Return redundant mobile phones, batteries and paint to retailers for recycling
    • Dispose of any unavoidable waste safely
  • A mobile industry working in isolated areas needs to consider all means to lessen emissions and find new ways to move people and equipment.
    • Plan to take only the trucks and technical equipment needed for the day to location
    • Develop environmentally responsible leasing/rental practices for vehicles to include fuel efficiency and maintenance practices
    • Use alternative fuel vehicles, e.g. hybrids, electric, ethanol or bio diesel
    • Purchase the cleanest fuel available
    • Maintain appropriate tire pressure
    • Monitor fuel efficiency by tracking mileage and fuel consumption
    • Investigate ways of reducing unnecessary travel, such as teleconferencing (video chat or audio)
    • Encourage above the line talent to share trailers in order to be eco-friendly
    • Raise crew awareness of fuel-efficient driving
    • Drive smoothly without harsh acceleration; speeding off the mark can use up to 60% more fuel
    • Change gears efficiently – changing gears at 1500 to 2500 rpm can save up to 15% on fuel
    • Don’t rev the engine unnecessarily – this wastes fuel and increases emissions
    • Keep speeds down to optimise fuel consumption
    • Avoid unnecessary idling. Turn off your engine when stuck in traffic. In the City of Vancouver it is illegal to idle vehicles for extended periods of time
    • Concentrate, look ahead and anticipate road conditions and other people’s actions. This reduces the need for hard braking and acceleration
    • Avoid short journeys and only make essential car journeys. Walking or public transit are always options
    • Short journeys on a cold engine use up twice as much fuel as a warm engine, producing more emissions
    • Plan journeys to avoid peak periods, roadwork, and getting lost – Creative BC provides links to Road Ahead and the Province’s Highways department
    • Air conditioning increases fuel consumption by up to 2 litres per 100 km
    • Provide incentives for crew members to car pool