Green Routes – On Location Filming ideas to reduce waste and emissions

In last week’s Autumn Budget/Statement, it was announced that in 2025, electric cars will no longer be exempt from Road Tax. Of course, this is following the news that there will be a ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030. I thought I would talk about my own experiences (as a Location Manager & Scout) for trying to be more aware of my own carbon footprint.

Of course I have seen bad practice…. like the time when a Director of Photography (DoP) plugged in his electric car into a diesel generator at a film studios. You have got to question is this right?…Whom should be providing the facilities?…Whom should be paying for this cost?…

Within the Film & TV industry – ALBERT led by BAFTA of course is the most visually recognised accreditation for production companies to work towards. Those not in our industry will see it at the end of many credits on BBC & ITV.  The paperwork side of things is done by the production managers and their team often feeling like it has landed on them. I myself have done the ALBERT training (some years ago now) and would highly recommend it.

As Location Managers and crew within the department – I feel we have a really good overview of the operations of the workings of a production on location and that we could be doing more. Often most of the time it is down the relentless schedules, lack of staff and budget.

My best experience of working towards a shared “green” goal was on Netflix’s After Life 3. The main reason was that a specific person was employed to monitor, support and record all green initiatives and encourage us to think about what we were doing.

Film Fixers are leading the way on The Generator Project generator usage with asking Unit Managers and the like to track their number of generators they are using. Film London are delivering a number of different schemes including Green ScreenSustainable Film is doing some great work supporting productions directly.

From my own experience – particularly filming recently in the Home Countries and Sussex, If you are not filming in London it quite hard to find suppliers that are “green” – it often actually costs you more money. If we can’t find the suppliers then here are a few things we could be doing;

–         Reusing Unit Signs – why not make the switch to bamboo/recycled signs like Planet Signs

–         Donating Food Waste – all of that waste each day after “late break” – find local foodbanks (given we are in a Cost of Living crisis) near to were you are filming on location. OLIO is a great app to use.

–         Recruiting Local Marshalls & Runners – reduce your own teams distances they are travelling. It’s a great way to introduce new people to the industry. Connecting in advance to local film offices or universities is a great way to find people locally.

–         Find and use local power when you can or use battery alternatives – we used Ecoflows recently which were great!

What are we doing as Location Routes?

As we are developing and building our own locations library – we are planning our own routes to reduce our own mileage when scouting. Google Maps have also introduced eco-friendly routes on their app. We are also offsetting our carbon footprint this by using Ecologi (follow our progress HERE)

Sorry for my long blog post this month. As a Formula E (electric racing) fan and seen both good and bad practice happening on location, I thought it would be a good topic for discussion following COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt that finished this week.

Would love to know your thoughts on this subject and any feedback on this post.

Oliver Laurenson-Gore – Location Manager & Scout

Tel: 07845 699110 / 020 4524 6399

Email: [email protected]