How did we go at waste-free video production?
We’ve been involved in some really creative projects of late focusing on issues that our dear to our heart around environment and waste reduction this month. All rather timely considering it’s #PlasticFreeJuly.
We’re the last kind of folk to label ourselves “waste warriors”, but it’s certainly caused us to turn the spotlight inwards and look at how we reduce our waste both as a business and as individuals.
Recycling is all well and good, but it still means plastic and paper is created; the best solution is reduction.
Having subjected ourselves to a mini “waste audit”, we’ve used #PlasticFreeJuly as motivation to reduce our use of single-use plastics and also cut back on other types of waste from here on in.
Not to get all preachy, but it’s been far easier than we thought to make changes to how we operate our business and our home lives in line with those values. We’re also far more mindful about any new purchases we make, trying to source recycled or natural products as much as possible.
And in case you decide to do the same, here are some simple ways we’re doing things differently moving forward:
Powering the crew
Re-useable coffee cups now live permanently in the crew car. Camera dude survives on coffee and needs several every day to power his creativity. He’s not keen on the jam-jar-and-pre-loved-rubber-band-cup I’ve crafted, but it works. We’ve also chucked in some bamboo utensils and pre-loved containers for takeaways just in case.
For office meals, we’re strictly plastic-free there. And we’ve made bees-wax wraps to use instead of cling wrap.
We’ve always carried metal drink bottles on set so it’s business as usual there.
Print and Paper
We’ve gone paperless, well almost; it’s not hard given most of our communication is done digitally. We’ve created on line versions of our legal forms – for Contributor Permissions and the like.
We’ve invested in refillable printer ink cartridges for those occasions we do need to print scripts for shoots and use recycled paper and print on both sides of the sheets or change layout to fit multiple pages per sheet.
Any used paper gets used as fire starters for the outdoor fire and BBQ.
And we’re also experimenting with ditching the paper notebooks we use and relying on digital to do lists and note-taking. (watch this space – that’s the hardest of all habits to change)
Needless to say, in video production there’s a heap of tech involved, from camera gear to editing hardware and all the itty little bits and pieces between.
We’ve been using re-chargeable batteries for equipment but the odd single life battery in emergencies gets taken to Aldi for recycling.
Used tech – obsolete computers, drives and camera equipment gets recycled or dissembled for parts. (It’s amazing what you can learn to do on You Tube!)
Cords and Cables
With all the cables from lights and power cords and holding stuff together and to things, production used to involve far too many cable ties. Although we only ever used those that were re-usable, we’ve now committed to not ordering any more.
Hello velcro ties (home made of course) and dare I say it, household string.
And rather than the single use plastic zip lock bags to group different cables together (USBs, audio cables, Mini usbs etc), we now collate them in home-made fabric bags instead. Much more durable and colourful too (although sadly not waterproof)
Lanyards and Biz cards
We attend lots of events, and were increasingly overwhelmed at our growing collection of single-use plastic nametags. Instead we now (politely) ask event organisers to allow us to BYO nametag – cardboard natch – which we use again and again.
In a similar vein, realising how often we store and chuck (or let’s be honest, lose!) business cards we receive from contacts, we’ve opted to go digital. We scan cards offered by customers and happily share our own cards digitally to anyone who wants.
Embarrassingly we’ve realised how much of our plastic consumption is through pens and other bits and bobs. We have drawers of textas, highlighters and the like accumulated over the years.
Nothing new from now on. And if we need additional supplies, we’ll source recycled products or head to Vinnies. You heard it here people.
We rarely dispatch items in the post, but wherever possible we prefer to deliver by hand to lessen the amount of packaging we create.
It’s more of a challenge when it comes to packaging in the goods we buy – particularly on line for tech supplies and gear – bubble wrap, post packs and Styrofoam. We’ve not mastered this one yet, but are looking for sellers with a more ethical solution to single use packaging.
Plastic free food and drink is harder than we thought, particularly when it comes to bread and milk, two of our biggest kitchen staples. We’re trying to buy plastic-free wrapped bread but trying to get milk beyond those single-use plastic bottles is proving hard. We have found a local coop where we can decant into our own bottles, but trying to fill up before we forget (and therefore get cranky without coffee) is something we are trying but struggle with.
We’re buying coffee beans wrapped in paper packets, loose leaf teas, making our own kombucha and using a soda stream for fizzy water.
We’re doing all the right things by setting aside any non-dairy and meat food scraps (those bits attract rats and maggots) for compost and the veggie patch.
We’re sourcing products from bulk free stores or making our own. The only thing we struggle with is milk for our high coffee and tea intake, and whilst we are still buying in plastic bottles we are at least trying to re-use the bottle tops for good causes.
We’re not perfect but we’re trying.
And check out our Insta stories to see our daily Plastic Free July Tips.