8 Ways to Go Zero Waste on a Film Set

Producing and executing a movie takes a lot of hard work by a lot of people.   Between writing the script, casting, rehearsing, scouting locations, costuming, not to mention actually filming and editing - there are a lot of jobs to do and a lot of people to keep motivated.

If you add to the mix a super low budget, then there are a million more jobs to do by significantly fewer hands.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

I co-own Fishtown Films, an independent film company.  Three years ago my partner, Austin Elston, and I transitioned our company to be zero waste - the first in our industry. 

This fall we are making the very first zero-waste movie, Here Comes The Blackout, a millennial love story about one wild night in Philadelphia.  Our goal is to generate less than 16 ounces of trash through the production of the entire film.

The film industry is notoriously wasteful.  From disposable sets to disposable water bottles, there is no end to how quickly film sets toss away perfectly good items straight into the landfill for the sake of convenience and cost.

But we have a climate crisis, and this sort of wasteful behavior is unacceptable, especially in an influential industry that can absolutely afford to do better.

Over the last three years, Austin and I have learned a thing or two about how to run a zero-waste film set.  On the last short film we made 8 ounces of trash total!  Our last music video - only 4 ounces.

And, by making these changes, we’ve saved thousands of dollars. So for all you indie filmmakers out there with tiny budgets, save a few grand by following these steps and spend it on casting some top-notch actors to bring your vision to life.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

1. food:

A typical film set is awash in packaged foods.  From chips to granola bars to water bottles, there are so many opportunities to green up your craft services and save money! 

Serving whole foods like fruits, vegetables and nuts in reusable containers not only makes your clean up minimal, but it will delight your cast and crew.  

Unpackaged foods are healthier and will help your team maintain energy by filling them up with good nutrients. Packaged foods may seem more convenient, but they create a whole lot more trash to deal with.

At the end of the shoot day, just plop everything that hasn’t been consumed and can’t be salvaged into the compost bin.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

2. reusables:

Paper plates, plastic forks, and disposable napkins.  Movie sets are littered with items to be used for 5 minutes but will take centuries to decompose. This makes zero sense.  Especially when you consider that you can skip wasting all that money on trash and simply use real plates.

If you have a small set, bring your dishes and silverware from home.  If it is a large shoot, thrift stores are a great way to stock up on supplies for less than what you would spend on disposables and you can use them for your next project.

If you are lucky enough to be producing a large budget film, then make sure your craft services team is using reusables before you hire them.  And because you are using reusables, you don’t need a fresh batch of plastic utensils and paper plates for each meal of each day of shooting which seriously adds up.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

3.  water bottles:

A well-stocked water station will save you hundreds of dollars on crates of water bottles.  Using disposable water bottles on set means mountains of trash and wasted money when the majority of people discard or lose their bottle after just a few sips.  

Tap or filtered water is delicious and when served in actual cups or mugs, your actors and crew can easily keep tabs on their specific beverage.

If you have extra funds, you can even have co-branded cups made at Klean Kanteen or S’well with your production company branded on the side for your team to use and proudly display.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

4.  location + set design:

Building the world of your film is complicated and often wildly expensive.  But if you try it zero waste style, you may find a means to slash thousands from your expenses.  Our favorite trick is to find existing locations and let the world speak for itself.

In our upcoming zero waste feature film, Here Comes The Blackout, we are filming in a fantastic local family-owned bar with all its own personality included.   No set dressing required. We are also using a really gorgeous Airbnb for some of the house scenes which is a great way to handpick a home that suits your specific characters at a really affordable price. Again, no trash created. Use what already exists.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

5. props:

There are so many amazing ways to prop your film and it doesn’t need to be purchased new.  There are thrift stores, vintage shops, your neighbor’s basement, and your local university’s drama department.  In Philly, we are lucky to have The Resource Exchange which helps us source pre-loved props and supplies.

In LA, there is Eco Set.  It seems small businesses focusing on repurposing set pieces are popping up everywhere, so definitely look for one in your city. And when you are done with those pieces, take them back to be reused again and again.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

6. costumes:

This is where thrifting is your new best friend. Work with your costume designer and build a board on pinterest to keep a collection of images handy, then start hitting the thrift shops and consignment stores. 

Chances are what you need is out there already and for a fraction of the cost. If your film budget is super small consider renting clothes from your actor’s wardrobes, if they are game.

If your film is a period piece, make friends with a costume shop.  Every city has one, especially any city with drama departments in their universities.  Rent what you need, return when you are done.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

7.  camera equipment:

Whenever possible rent your gear.  Digital cameras are changing so rapidly that owning equipment becomes a pointless endeavor.   By the time you have paid off the camera, it has become obsolete, and now what do you do with it? 

Renting gives you access to gorgeous lenses and sturdy tripods with fluid heads. Renting allows you to use stunning 8K cameras at a fraction of what it would cost to buy.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

8.  coffee runs:

It’s late, everyone on set is exhausted and needs a jolt.  But you planned ahead. You stored a few flats of freshly washed mason jars with lids in the gear truck.   Your PA is a bit forgetful, but that’s ok because you hand them a sharpie and the case of mason jars.

Then each actor or cast member can write in sharpie their name and desired drink on the jar.  The PA doesn’t have to remember anything and everyone is confident that your lactose-intolerant lead wasn’t just handed a whole milk latte right before the final scene of the night.

The beauty of this zero waste coffee run is that no drinks will spill because of the lids, everyone has a jar that can be reused tomorrow (and for years to come), and after a quick spin in the dishwasher the sharpie markings will wipe right off with a dishcloth and some soap.

8 ways to go zero waste on a film set from www.goingzerowaste.com #film #movie #shortfilm #sustainable #ecofriendly #art #featurefilm #movies #makingmovies

By tackling your art mindfully, you may discover there are so many less wasteful ways to create the world of your imagination.  And while some of these ideas may not work for your specific project - remember, it’s about progress, not perfection.

GUEST POST: Emily Gallagher is the co-owner of Fishtown Films, and this fall we are challenging ourselves to make less than 16 ounces of garbage over the course of creating a full-length movie.  Follow along @fishtownfilms on instagram to see how we do! And if you want to help us change Hollywood, please donate to our fundraiser.  Every dollar earned will go towards proving that there is a more sustainable way to make movies.

Make Art. Not Trash.

8 Hot Drinks to Keep You Warm All Season Long

If you’ve been following me on Instagram for any period of time then you know the ONE item I so desperately wish I could find in the bulk bins….

The marshmallow.

8 Hot drinks perfect for fall from www.goingzerowaste.com #ecofriendly #falldrinks #hotchocolate #pumpkinspice #goldenmilk #matcha #whitechocolatematcha #sustainable #eco #hotdrinks #falldrinks #winterdrinks #holidaydrinks #partydrinks

This post was sponsored by Further Food all thoughts and opinions are my own for more information please see my disclosure policy.

Any other marshmallow fans in the house?

I am a HUGE fan of s’mores. I mean - is there really anything better than a freshly toasted, ooey-gooey marshmallow paired with creamy melted chocolate and a crisp graham cracker? I don’t think so.

For years, people have been telling me, “Marshmallows are so EASY to make at home!” I didn’t believe those people. I thought they were lying to me. But after finally finding the courage to make a batch at home, with confidence, I can report - they were right.

Making homemade marshmallows was pretty gosh-darn easy. Once I found out that Further Food started offering gelatin, it became a no brainer.

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I am a huge fan of Further Food! I first heard about them when I started taking collagen about a year ago.

Further Food is a woman-owned and operated company right here in San Francisco, and a portion of each sale goes to chronic illness and healthy eating programs. You know how much I love companies that give back!

When Further Food started making gelatin - I leaped at the chance to finally give homemade marshmallows a try. I was not disappointed!

My hot chocolate game is going to be ON POINT this winter. All I need to do is master the homemade graham cracker and I’m one step closer to s’mores.

I like Further Food because they use 100% recycled plastic #2 for their bottles which reduces the overall carbon footprint by 78%. Using the recycled content uses 90% less energy, and it’s pure plastic (not a mix!) so it can be recycled again and again.

Plastic #2 has a great domestic market in the states so you can feel good about the material you’re choosing.

You can get 15% off your Further Food purchase with the code GOINGZEROWASTE.

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This hot chocolate is so rich and creamy thanks to the collagen! I snuggled up with a big cup under a blanket while watching a movie last weekend and it was sheer heaven.

1. hot chocolate:

Makes 1 Cup


  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan
  2. Add Chocolate Collagen and cocoa powder
  3. Whisk to remove any clumps
  4. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract
  5. Let it simmer for a minute
  6. Pour into a mug
  7. Top with a marshmallow
  8. ENJOY!
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I thought making marshmallows was going to be a really long and laborious process, but it was actually VERY easy! Surprisingly easy. I am going to be making all sorts of marshmallow treats this winter!


Makes 24 Large Marshmallows


  1. Line a 9×13 cookie sheet with a reusable silicone mat and set it aside.
  2. Lightly whisk the gelatin powder and 1/2 cup water in a large mixing bowl or the base of your stand mixer
  3. Place 1/2 cup water the maple syrup or honey and salt in a saucepan.
  4. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes and remove from the heat
  5. Whisk the gelatin and water mixture on low while slowly adding in the syrup
  6. Once all of the syrup is combined slowly increase the speed to high and whip for 5-10 minutes
  7. The mixture will more than double in size and look like a medium whipped cream
  8. Spread the marshmallow cream out onto the cookie sheet with a spatula
  9. Leave the marshmallows out to set for 6-8 hours or overnight. (Do NOT place the marshmallows in the fridge! Moisture will dissolve them)
  10. Cut your marshmallows
  11. OPTIONAL! Dust them on all sides to prevent sticking. I used powdered sugar

Store the homemade marshmallows in a sealed container in your pantry. They’re good for up to a week.

8 Hot drinks perfect for fall from www.goingzerowaste.com #ecofriendly #falldrinks #hotchocolate #pumpkinspice #goldenmilk #matcha #whitechocolatematcha #sustainable #eco #hotdrinks #falldrinks #winterdrinks #holidaydrinks #partydrinks

I love, love matcha! Adding in a bit of white chocolate makes it an extra special treat. If you’re feeling especially festive, consider adding in a drop of peppermint extract.

2. white chocolate matcha:

Makes 1 Mug


  1. Heat the milk and water in a small saucepan it should be hot but not boiling!
  2. Add the chopped white chocolate.
  3. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted
  4. Add the vanilla (and optional peppermint extract)
  5. Stir to combine
  6. Add the matcha powder
  7. Whisk or use an immersion blender to remove all of the matcha clumps
  8. Pour into your mug and enjoy!
8 Hot drinks perfect for fall from www.goingzerowaste.com #ecofriendly #falldrinks #hotchocolate #pumpkinspice #goldenmilk #matcha #whitechocolatematcha #sustainable #eco #hotdrinks #falldrinks #winterdrinks #holidaydrinks #partydrinks

This drink is extra easy and one of my favorite drinks on cold mornings. Golden milk is made with turmeric so it’s a great immune system booster and helps to reduce inflammation.

3. golden milk:

Makes 1 Mug

  • 1 cup coconut milk or non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Tonic


  1. Heat milk over medium heat
  2. Add in the Turmeric Tonic
  3. Whisk together
  4. Enjoy!
8 Hot drinks perfect for fall from www.goingzerowaste.com #ecofriendly #falldrinks #hotchocolate #pumpkinspice #goldenmilk #matcha #whitechocolatematcha #sustainable #eco #hotdrinks #falldrinks #winterdrinks #holidaydrinks #partydrinks

5 other hot drinks worth trying!

What’s your favorite warm drink for the cold season? If you’re interested in trying any of the Further Food products don’t forget you can get 15% off your purchase with the code GOINGZEROWASTE.

8 Hot drinks perfect for fall from www.goingzerowaste.com #ecofriendly #falldrinks #hotchocolate #pumpkinspice #goldenmilk #matcha #whitechocolatematcha #sustainable #eco #hotdrinks #falldrinks #winterdrinks #holidaydrinks #partydrinks

10 Easy Ways to Save Water

I’ve spent quite a lot of time living in both California and Texas. Most of those years have been drought years so conserving water has always been drilled into my head.

Even though I didn’t grow up in the most eco-conscious household, turning off the lights and shutting off the water were discussed frequently.

One of my most vivid memories from childhood was being at my grandma’s house when an ice cube fell on the ground. Instead of picking it up and putting it in the sink, she placed it in a gorgeous hand-painted pitcher. She kept that pitcher near the sink to collect any rogue water which she’d later use to water the plants.

I remember thinking how clever she was - that even something as small as a single ice cube didn’t go to waste. And, I mean, we all know our grandparents were the original zero wasters.

10 easy ways to save water from www.goingzerowaste.com #water #savewater #simpleliving #ecofriendly #eco #sustainable #gogreen #water

I’m super excited to be partnering with Nebia for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own for more information please see my disclosure policy.

Nebia’s mission is to fundamentally change the way we interact with water. The Nebia Spa Shower 2.0 saves 65% of water compared to conventional showerheads.

Instead of a stream of water like with traditional shower heads, Nebia has developed a superior shower experience through atomization, the process of breaking up water into tiny droplets. This solution creates the sensation of more water while actually using much less.

I’m from the south, and cannot abide by flat hair. When I first learned about Nebia , I was intrigued but a bit worried about hair volume.

Low flow tends to = low volume, but Nebia’s engineers have figured out a way to save water while keeping my hair as bouncy as ever!

I’ve been using the second-generation of Nebia’s award-winning shower system, the Nebia Spa Shower 2.0, for a little over a month now and am so happy with its performance. Nebia is a bit different from other showers. Because the billions of water droplets are spread out over a greater area, the shower head provides 2X fuller coverage than a standard shower. Add some eucalyptus to the shower, let the steam build up, and boom - instant spa. (Also great for cold season!)

According to Nebia's Calculator , between Justin and I, we’ll be saving $177.13 as well as the equivalent of 102,200 glasses of drinking water and 23.6 days of heat for the average home each year!

My favorite part about the Nebia 2.0, besides the massive water savings, is it’s designed to be used by people of different heights. Its arm glides 25 inches up and down so you can always position it at the perfect height for you. As a bonus, this means it’s SO easy to jump in the shower for a quick rinse without having to worry about getting my hair wet.

The Nebia Spa Shower 2.0 is currently available with free shipping on North American orders through November 1.

10 easy ways to save water from www.goingzerowaste.com #water #savewater #simpleliving #ecofriendly #eco #sustainable #gogreen #water

Now, I know we’ve all heard that we should conserve water, but have you ever thought about why? Water is a renewable resource so what’s the big deal?

71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, but only 3% of that is fresh water. And, of that 3% most of it is locked under the Earth’s surface, in ice, the atmosphere, and the soil.

Only .007% of the water on our planet is available to fuel and feed its 6.8 billion people. (source) As our population rates climb this water is spread out among more people. As our climate changes, droughts and water scarcity are becoming more common so we’ll have even less water to split among us.

Average daily indoor water use in the US is around 60 gallons per person per day, but our virtual water use, in other words, how much water goes into the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the products we use every day, is in the thousands of gallons.

Don't believe me? Check out the Water Footprint Calculator - it's very eye-opening. The US Average is 2,220 Gallons/Day think you can beat it?

My water footprint came 1,262 Gallons/Day which is still a lot. I would love to try and cut it down.

Seeing how much actual water and virtual water I use each day has inspired me to re-think my water usage. Here are 10 easy ways to reduce your water footprint.

10 easy ways to save water from www.goingzerowaste.com #water #savewater #simpleliving #ecofriendly #eco #sustainable #gogreen #water

1. turn off the tap:

Whether you're brushing your teeth, your hands, or the dishes. Turn the water off when you’re not using it. Keep a basin in your sink to catch excess water or to rinse dishes.

2. shower better:

Hate the idea of low-flow showerheads but want to dramatically reduce your water usage? Consider switching out your old shower head with the Nebia Spa Shower 2.0.

I rent and the two things I always do when moving into a new rental is change the lightbulbs to LEDs and switch out the shower head. It only took about 15 minutes to install Nebia and the uninstallation is even easier so it will be really easy to put the original shower head back once we move out.

These two simple swaps can save you hundreds of dollars and lots of water!

Beyond switching your shower head, you should also try showering less frequently.

Most people shower WAY too much. You shouldn't shower daily unless you're very sweaty or very dirty. It's not good for your skin so if you're prone to getting stinky just wash your body and skip washing your hair.

10 easy ways to save water from www.goingzerowaste.com #water #savewater #simpleliving #ecofriendly #eco #sustainable #gogreen #water

3. shower with a bucket:

Even if you have an amazing water-saving showerhead like Nebia, you probably still spend a minute or two waiting for the shower to heat up. Keep a bucket in the shower so you can catch the extra water. You can use it to water your plants or flush the toilet.

4. run it full:

When it comes to washing dishes or a load of clothes, run it full! It’s the most efficient way to run your appliances.

5. change your landscape:

Unlike these other swaps, this isn’t a quick change. It will take some time to update your landscaping but if you’re up for the challenge you can make a huge impact in this area.

Try to reduce the amount of grass you have. Manicured lawns aren’t the most sustainable choice. Instead opt for drought-friendly lawn space or convert it into an edible garden so you're able to grow local food!

6. keep it real:

Now, the majority of the water we use, we don’t even see. It’s called virtual water and it’s used mostly on the industry side of things. The next half of my tips are going to focus on the other side of water use.

Use real plates and cloth napkins. You might think more water is used to wash these items, but it actually takes 8 gallons of water to make one paper plate whereas the average dishwasher only uses 6 gallons of water. 

7. watch what you eat:

Agriculture accounts for 65% of the world's freshwater. It takes 1,910 gallons to produce just ONE pound of beef. (BCRC)⁠ One of the best things you can do is to limit the number of animal products that you consume.

If you’re just starting out on your eco-friendly journey start small. Try incorporating one or two meatless meals a week or start with vegan breakfasts and lunches.

Here are a few other low water crops you can incorporate in your diet: corn, sweet potatoes, amaranth, and black-eyed peas.


8. watch what you wear:

Did you know it takes A LOT of water to grow cotton? According to National Geographic, it takes 2,700 gallons of water to make ONE cotton t-shirt.⁠

One of the most eco-friendly things you can do is shop for clothing second hand, be happy with what you already own, or host a clothing swap with friends. Not only will you save $$ but you’ll also save lots of water!

9. opt for recycled:

Did you know it takes 37 gallons of water to create ONE roll of toilet paper? (source) When it comes to toilet paper, opt for recycled content instead of virgin paper.

Another great way to reduce the amount of toilet paper you use is to get a bidet attachment. They're fairly inexpensive starting around $35 and will pay for themselves in a month or two. They're really easy to install at home, and it's honestly been one of my favorite zero-waste swaps!

10. choose reusables:

I know this sounds similar to keepin' it real, and it is, but I want to emphasize disposable "convenience" products like water bottles and paper coffee cups.

It takes 3 liters of water to create ONE liter of bottled water⁠. (Academy of Sciences) ⁠Instead of choosing disposables, invest in one nice reusable bottle that's insulated. You can carry your water and get a coffee when you’re out.

Since it’s insulated, it’s perfect for keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold so you only have to carry one bottle with you.

How many of these tips have you implemented in your life?

10 easy ways to save water from www.goingzerowaste.com #water #savewater #simpleliving #ecofriendly #eco #sustainable #gogreen #water

I want to give another shoutout and thank you to Nebia for sponsoring this post.

If you’ve been looking for an easy way to save water without sacrificing your shower experience, Nebia 2.0 is for you. It’s currently available with free shipping on North American orders through November 1.