Target and EcoSet: TV Commercials Can Be Green Too

Many retailers these days have made significant progress in reducing their impacts on the environment. From implementing alternative energy to fuel their operations to carrying eco-friendly products, retailers are increasingly going green. However, Target and eco-consulting firm EcoSet, are taking it further by making television ads eco-friendly as well.

Target, which already carries a number of eco-friendly products, has teamed up with EcoSet to produce TV advertisements that are more environmentally responsible. The firm claims to have the ability to prevent 90% of waste produced on the set from ending up in landfills without interfering or costing production crews time or extra money. Also, since TV ad shoots last only a few days, crews usually do not take the time or put in the effort to clean up after the shoot. With tight schedules, why clean up if it takes up as much time as the shoot itself? This is where EcoSet comes in.

EcoSet is comprehensive in achieving its goals. On the set, there is not a single plastic water bottle; everyone is given a reusable, stainless steel water container. For Target shoots, everyone gets a red bottle labeled with a Target logo. Filtered water dispensers are provided for everyone to refill their water containers when necessary. How many times do people open a water bottle, take a sip, put the bottle down somewhere, leave, then come back and wonder which bottle was theirs? Then, just to be safe, they open up a new, sealed water bottle, and might repeat the whole process again. The use of reusable water containers and water dispensers would help eliminate this problem, which wastes water and plastic.

EcoSet also provides numerous recycling solutions. Waste from the set and office are recycled. Hazardous and electronic waste are also properly disposed of or recycled.

EcoSet also has composting bins to compost any food waste, which can be a big problem. In some cases, this problem has prompted groups to launch campaigns against production crews that waste food. For instance, Australian chef Matt Moran was angered when the prosciutto-wrapped chicken dish he prepared as a demonstration was tossed into the trash by a crew member.

Although the profanity-laced incident was admittedly staged, it emphasizes the problem with food waste. Chef Moran later explained, “I was more than happy to be involved in something so controversial if it meant that the message of food waste would be brought to the top of Australians’ minds.” Food waste can be used as compost; however, some chefs, especially those that spend much time and effort putting together dishes they are proud of, may be irked at the sight of their labors being composted and used to feed plants instead of being enjoyed by people.

Speaking of food, all dishware and utensils used on the set are either reusable or plant-based. Plant-based utensils are composed of renewable materials such as rice, corn, potatoes, and sugarcane. These utensils will biodegrade within 100 days, compared with traditional plastic utensils that take hundred or even thousands of years to decompose, taking up space in ever crowding landfills. These plant-based utensils usually conform to DIN CERTCO, ASTM, and ISO standards, assuring that they actually decompose in a timely manner as claimed.

Lastly, EcoSet has helped Target donate construction materials that are no longer needed on the set to various art and education organizations. Materials have been used for a variety of projects. Cindy Saucedo Smith, program coordinator for the organization ArtStart, has seen kids use materials such as silver cooling tubes as part of robot costumes. Says Smith, “The kids can go crazy when they see stuff like that, so we’ll hold on to it for the fall and see if there are suggestions for eco-costumes.”

As retailers may launch TV ads that claim how environmentally responsible they are, it is even better if producing these ads are green as well.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/jreed/379881530

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