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'Oz: The Great and Powerful' Set is Greener Than the Emerald City

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The Emerald City is as green as its name.

The set of Sam Raimi‘s new film, Oz: the Great and Powerful, has the normal crew you would expect: actors, producers, key grip, etc., plus one unusual addition: an environmental steward. Julie Etheridge and her husband Brad spend each day on set sifting through the production’s trash, looking for items that can be recycled.

“I can guarantee I start my day in the dumpster, end my day in the dumpster and dumpster dive in between,” Etheridge says.

In addition to making sure all the cardboard, paper and plastic get recycled, Etheridge is also in charge of composting. “All of our disposable dishware, it’s all 100-percent plant-based, compostable dishware. We will be composting … just a little over 300,000 pounds of compost, which is huge. That’s 300,000 pounds that we’re diverting from the landfills,” she says.

The film is a Disney production, so being eco-friendly is par for the course. In 2009, Disney implemented green mandates for its movies, which have led to everything from reduced use of water bottles on set to hiring environmental stewards such as Etheridge.

Oz is filming in Raimi’s home state of Michigan, and is working with Detroit-based company Michigan Green Safe Products on the environmental initiatives. The company is in charge of hauling the compost and providing the aforementioned compostable tableware, which has contributed to a profit of more than a million dollars this year. Not a bad haul for a business in a recession-ravaged state, and proof that being green is profitable.

Oz: the Great and Powerful tells the story of Oz (the man) before Dorothy’s arrival in the Emerald City. The film stars James Franco as Oz, and Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz as three witches he meets in the magical land (Williams portrays fan favorite Glinda). The movie is slated to hit theaters in March 2013.

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