Green Council: SAG-AFTRA and MPA Team Up to Eliminate Single-Use Plastic in the Entertainment Industry

UPDATE: On April 28, 2023, policymakers, Hollywood stars, members of the press, NGO advisors, and more gathered in Washington, DC at the Motion Picture Association for the official launch of the Green Council signaling Hollywood’s commitment to eliminating single-use plastics both on and off screen.

The star-studded event included notables from the entertainment industry, including Jennifer Beals, Sophia Bush, Chris Colfer, Rosario Dawson, Alysia Reiner, Kyra Sedgwick, Bradley Whitford, and Sara Yarkin, alongside NGO advisors Plastic Pollution Coalition, Habits of Waste, the Environment Media Association, Plastic Oceans, and the Cancer Schmancer Movement. The event included video statements in support from Ed Begley Jr., Jeff Bridges, Frances Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, and Alfre Woodard.

A Green Revolution in Hollywood

The recent Screen Actors Guild Awards held on February 26, 2023, were not just about recognizing outstanding performances in the entertainment industry. During the ceremony, Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) president Fran Drescher made an announcement that signaled the beginning of a new green revolution in Hollywood.

Drescher revealed that SAG-AFTRA and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) have officially forged the Green Council, a new initiative that aims to promote environmentally conscious and sustainable practices in the entertainment industry. The Council’s first official mission is to eliminate single-use plastic both on and off-screen, and to use the wide-reaching influence of Hollywood actors and productions to challenge audiences around the world to do the same.

I am very proud to say that SAG-AFTRA and MPA has forged Green Council. The biggest joint effort of stars and studios to save the planet since WWII. Mission #1: an honor system to eliminate single-use plastic, on camera, behind the scenes, and leverage star power to challenge audiences around the world to do the same. You may notice this year, on your tables, they’re all glass bottles.

–Fran Drescher, SAG-AFTRA President

The Green Council’s newly established honors system will encourage and motivate the industry to adopt more sustainable practices in their day-to-day operations. With the entertainment industry being one of the largest contributors to environmental waste, this initiative is a much-needed step in the right direction. The Green Council will undoubtedly create a ripple effect that will inspire other industries and individuals to follow suit and take action towards a more sustainable future.

According to a 2019 Producers Guild Green Report, a 60-day film shoot uses approximately 39,000 single-use water bottles. While productions have traditionally assumed that water bottles are a money-saving way to hydrate the cast and crew, recent productions such as Top Gun: Maverick are proving that sustainable practices are also huge money-savers, and the traditional habits of tinsel town waste money, in addition to generating unnecessary plastic pollution.

There’s that fallacy of, ‘Oh, these single-use plastic water bottles are cheaper so you’re going to save money,’ but they’re really not. On Top Gun: Maverick, we moved more than 30,000 single-use plastic water bottles out of the waste stream in order to make sure that we were using water filtration systems and people were using refillable canteens. That saved us thousands of dollars according to the sustainability report. So I think that the fallacy that having a sustainable set is going to be a more expensive set, that mindset in and of itself is problematic.

–Jennifer Lynch, Senior VP, Corporate Social Responsibility and Internal Communications at Paramount Pictures, The Hollywood Reporter, June 2, 2022

The formation of the Green Council also highlights the importance of industry-wide collaboration and partnerships to achieve significant change. With SAG-AFTRA and MPA joining forces, it is clear that the entertainment industry is committed to making a positive impact on the environment and taking responsibility for its carbon footprint, which includes its plastic footprint. Plastic Pollution Coalition is proud to be a partner of the Green Council and to support their efforts in eliminating single-use plastic on and off-screen to Flip the Script on Plastics!

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