Plastic “Tox” EP 3: Flip the Script on Plastics: Zero Waste Production with Fishtown Films


Fishtown Films flips the script on plastics by creating zero waste film sets—and it's easier and cheaper than wasteful Hollywood practices!

Fishtown Films (@fishtownfilms), founded by writer/director Austin Elston and cinematographer/editor Emily Gallagher, is an independent film production company unlike any other. From music videos and political ads, to feature-length films, Fishtown productions deliver in quality while remaining free from the wasteful practices movie sets worldwide take for granted.

A single film set can produce 347 tons of waste per production. That’s more than three times what the average American generates in their lifetime. Every day on set, hundreds of plastic water bottles, plastic plates, utensils, coffee cups, table cloths, and other items are used once and thrown away. From pre-production to post-production, the film industry is one of the largest producers of unnecessary waste in the world. So how does a company like Fishtown Films compare? How much waste do their productions generate?

This much. Each jar below is the total waste produced in one Fishtown production.

Zero waste production and zero waste film sets

By transforming wasteful Hollywood practices into money-saving and climate-saving reusable efforts, Fishtown Films only produces between 4–8 oz of total trash per production—just one way that they are helping to Flip the Script on Plastics.

Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Amelia Hanson sat down with Austin and Emily, who shared their inspirational story in transforming their personal lives and their sets into low-waste environments. By focusing on compassionate communication with their production crew and cast, and leading by example, Emily and Austin are proving that going zero-waste in film and television saves money, helps the planet, does not require excessive additional time outside of the production schedule, and can be done with virtual invisibility without relying on tired character tropes and heavy-handed messaging. Listen to the whole conversation below.

On September 14, 2022, Austin and Emily joined Scott Z. Burns (Producer, An Inconvenient Truth, Screenwriter, Contagion, The Bourne Ultimatum) and Kate Folb (Director of Hollywood, Health & Society) for a special Plastic Pollution Coalition webinar: Crafting Hollywood Storylines That Flip the Script on Plastics, where they discussed tips and tools to help scriptwriters seamlessly craft plastic-free and plastic-aware worlds.

Zero waste production


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