by Michael dEstries
Categories: Film/TV.

We already know that Hollywood is greener today than it was several years ago, but just how are individual studios becoming more sustainable? Thanks to a report earlier this year from the Solid Waste Task Force, we can first-hand what’s happening behind the scenes — and what we can expect from the major players going forward.

Our synopsis of each studio’s efforts after the jump below.

DISNEY

From saving the coral reefs to significantly reducing production waste, The Walt Disney Studios is paving the way to a greener world for future generations. Last year to coincide with the release of Disneynature’s “Earth,” the studio partnered with The Nature Conservancy to plant 2.7 million trees in the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. The partnership continued and this Earth Day a portion of every ticket sold during the opening week of “Oceans” will help protect the coral reefs in The Bahamas.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in cooperation with movie theaters developed a program to recycle trailers and 3D glasses which kept more than 400 tons of materials from ending up in landfills. The Home Entertainment division efforts to reduce packaging waste yielded a 30% reduction in the amount of plastic and virgin paper used. Overall, Disney’s film production has worked to reduce the company’s carbon footprint with close to three-quarters of the set waste being recycled, reused, resold, or donated and recycling efforts have jumped from a 55% to an 85% average rate—putting new meaning to the lyrics “A whole new world, that’s where we’ll be, a thrilling chase, a wondrous place for you and me.”

FOX

The “Avatar Home Tree Initiative” — which promises to plant one million trees in 15 countries across the world by the end of 2010 — is just one of the ways that Twentieth Century Fox is going green. The corporation recently announced a partnership with Solar Power, Inc. and Pacific Edison that will result in the installation of a 158 kW DC solar photovoltaic system on the roof of Fox’s Building 99.

Fox’s production of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” marked the fourth time Fox film has utilized reused sets and construction materials from previously filmed movies. Maintaining their strict green policies, not one single plastic bottle was allowed on the set or on location during the filming and elevated walkways were installed at remote locations to keep the cast and crew off of vegetation.

NBC UNIVERSAL

NBC Universal has an executive, Shannon Schaefer, whose sole responsibility is to make sure TV and film production is as green as can be. Schaefer works to implement, track, measure, and improve green practices during production. The work is paying off as evident in the company’s “Green Is Universal” program which encourages limiting the use of plastic water bottles on set, implementing recycling programs, reusing set materials and donating leftover food to local soup kitchens.

Split waste bins, with separate sections for compostables, trash, and recycling, are available on the Universal lot. Since implementation of the bins, the Lot has seen an increase in the amount of material that is composted and recycled rather than sent to a landfill. Cutting waste overall is a goal of NBC Universal who was able to package the “It’s Complicated” DVDs with 20% less packaging and 100% recycled paper inserts.

PARAMOUNT

Paramount’s greatest eco-strides have been in the areas of water and power conservation. They’ve succeeded in weaning the studio lot off of 5 gallon jugs by 80% as well as personal plastic single use containers by 100,000 bottles through the installation of campus-wide filtration systems and encouraging users to refill their own containers instead.

Additionally, rather than relying on a traditional HVAC cooling system that torches through vast amounts of energy, the studio is in the final stages of installing a multi-phase chilled water plant in their lot that will utilize ½ the power and facilitate zone-specific control, ensuring that precise cooling is delivered where it’s really needed. Other green efforts include bringing eco-friendly furniture into the offices, conference rooms and dining hall, disbursing electronic documents rather than printed copies and installing energy efficient lighting controls.

SONY PICTURES

Sony Pictures Entertainment seems to have taken a more aggressive eco-stance, not only through their alliance with the tree planting organization “A Million Trees LA” but also through their daily business practices which focus far more on sustainable practices than ever before. In addition to a solar array mounted on the top of the Jimmy Stewart building, they constructed two new LEED certified office buildings and also committed to composting their organic waste. In the few months since the latter was implemented, they’ve been able to divert more than 80% of material that would have normally been landfilled.

Each Sony production is now assigned a “green” point-person who is in charge of ensuring that the studio’s Sustainability Best Practices guidelines are adhered to. Examples of their green efforts include providing all crew members with reusable water bottles, using eco-friendly transportation, trying whenever possible to repurpose previously built sets/components and when building new sets is necessary, they source sustainable materials.

WARNER BROTHERS

The press picked up on Warner Brothers’ efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of their February release “Valentine’s Day” with good reason – they seriously overhauled their movie set by measuring their eco-strides via a carbon calculator, using biodegradable serving ware, implementing on-site recycling/composting and installing biodiesel and solar generators. They continue to use biodiesel tanks in their transportation department along with B-20 (80% diesel/20% biodiesel) in 50 Warner trucks that are kept on the sets of their one hour television shows.

Even more notable is the fact that their year old LEED Gold-certified Stage 23 was “deconstructed” rather than demolished, enabling them to divert 1,890 tons of material from landfills plus reuse/recycle a seriously impressive 92% of the site’s resources. The structure was sustainably built using Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber, concrete contains recycled fly ash, all supports are composed of recycled steel and assorted metals plus energy efficient lighting was installed along with Ice Bear cooling technology and a 100 kilowatt solar electrical system.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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