Waste Management in Animation
The Management Plan
Once the wastes were identified and alternatives were found, it was only a matter of organizing a plan. The easiest way to construct a management plan is to divide the business and wastes into sections. For Canuck Creations, their plan was divided into four areas: Reception, Animation, Computer/Video, and Kitchenette/Lounge. Then the wastes are grouped by means of tactics to eliminate them. Are they going to be recycled, reused, or reduced? In addition, how does the company plan on carrying out each of these points? It is important for each company to identify their goals in their plan as well. They provide guidance as to how and when the plan should be carried out. Usually management plans have the same goal as the provincial/state legislation. However, goals should be reasonable. For Canuck Creations Incorporated, 50% waste reduction by the year 2000 is an achievable goal.
Changing Our Ways
There are many ways to change our habits without compromising the quality of creativity. In fact, creativity in finding new paths to change can enhance the quality of our work. Imagination is the key to this business and to improving the environment. This can be done with simple acts such as: eliminating note-pads and post-it notes, and using scrap paper and/or white boards instead; changing to mechanical pencils where applicable, and refillable pens (please note that biodegradable pens only degrade out in direct sunlight, not in landfills); doing as much work on the computer as possible before printing; getting a fax/modem and an Internet account to communicate via the modem (most magazines are on-line as well); investing in personalized coffee mugs instead of Styrofoam cups; purchasing sugar in bulk instead of single packets; and utilizing a reusable coffee filter. Buy products that can be reused many times or for a multitude of things. They may cost more now, but they will save more than money in the future. Another solution is to send old art supplies to schools for kids to create their own masterpieces. Children do not care if paintbrushes are not perfect, or if the colors are not the right shade. Trees are purple in their world. Non-profit organizations are another sector often looking for donations, which will also guarantee a tax write-off.
More ambitious moves include: leasing equipment such as computers, photocopiers, printers, etc. since old equipment can be returned to the dealer; insisting that art suppliers take back packaging or eliminate it all together; requesting larger companies take back unused supplies at the end of projects; choosing glass and aluminum containers over plastic since plastic is a petroleum-based product and different grades/types make recycling difficult; investing in a composter for food scraps as the soil produced is rich in nutrients that gardens thrive on; inquiring about organic/vegetable-based inks for printers and photocopiers; finding a company that is willing to refill cartridges for printers and photocopiers; and choosing graphite over lead for pencils.
Often, many of our purchasing decisions are made for today's convenience, without considering the inconvenience it will make tomorrow. Animation is a business that prides itself on the detail of the final product. The same detailed care should go into the decisions regarding the products used to create that final show. It is important to read labels, ask questions, and demand changes. We have to be careful with how we treat the environment as it will come back and haunt us and our children later. We are as much a part of it as it is of us.
Canuck Creations took a bold step forward through the development of their waste management plan. However, there is a long road ahead and they are only one company. The concept of waste management plans in the film industry is a relatively new idea but a needed one. This project has proved that both fields, environment and film, can be difficult to work with, and amalgamating the two is even harder. Yet, in the long run it is worth it and cost-effective. The local Ministry/Department of the Environment can provide more information on waste management planning and legislation. Furthermore, the Earth Communications Office (ECO) is a non-profit organization that promotes environmental awareness through the media. They are always interested in projects that take environmental action in the film industry. We can make a world of difference both on and off the screen. We just have to be willing to take that first step.
Lesli Rynyk recently graduated from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada earning her Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES). This project was part of her Senior Honours Thesis combining her interests in media arts and the environment.
The Management Plan