shooting at a film studio.
No. 1 for Film and TV Waste

TV and Film Production Waste

One Hollywood film set can have a carbon footprint of 3,000 tonnes, according to the Sustainable Production Alliance. Even small movie crews might release around 400 tonnes of carbon – like driving one million miles in a car. Waste and the way it’s managed have a big part to play in the picture.

The UK movie industry is worth more than £20 billion to the economy while TV contributes around £11 billion. It’s big business but both industries must do more to better manage their waste and operate sustainably. Filming a movie, TV show, pilot, advert, or online series generates a wide range and amount of rubbish.

At Business Waste we can help streamline waste management for your film or TV production, improve recycling, and lower costs thanks to our zero-landfill policy. This includes everything from set clearances at the end of a shoot to ongoing collections throughout production. Get a free quote for waste collection today – call 0800 211 8390 or contact us online.

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Get a free quote

Get a fast FREE quote for your TV and film waste

  • Free quote within 1 hr
  • Any type of waste
  • FREE bins and delivery
  • We cover all of the UK

Waste management for 
film and TV productions

Any rubbish that film and TV production companies and their sets create is classed as commercial waste. It must be removed by licensed waste carriers for safe, legal, and responsible disposal. Efficient waste management is essential to ensure everything is stored, removed, and disposed of properly to protect the environment and your business.

Movie and television productions may require daily waste removal during shoots, such as for any waste food or general waste. This helps maintain a clean and hygienic set by avoiding rubbish building up and bins overflowing. Film and TV sets may also need an extra one-off waste collection when wrapping up at the end of production.

Throughout filming it’s vital you have the right number, size, and types of bins across the TV or movie set. These should be close to the point of waste production but not in the way of the action. Using different bins helps cast and crew separate rubbish and store it safely to increase recycling rates and sustainability.

cameramen filming on a TV set.

Types of film and TV set waste 

Film and TV sets create a wide range of waste that varies in quantity and type depending on the nature of the production. There’s daily waste such as leftover food from the canteen and packaging, as well as rubbish at the end of a shoot like the actual sets, props, rigging equipment, and costumes.

Some of the common waste types generated on film and TV sets include:

  • Food waste – leftovers from the crew as well as kitchen waste such as expired ingredients and waste food from the catering company or studio canteen.
  • Textile waste – used and damaged clothing, costumes, curtains, and other textiles that are no longer needed.
  • WEEE – any waste electronics including broken cameras and lights, used batteries, and other WEEE.
  • Dry mixed recycling – cardboard, paper, plastic, and metal packaging from the crew (such as food and drink cans and wrappers).
  • General waste – daily waste like food scraps and non-recyclable rubbish.
  • Cardboard recycling – packaging and storage boxes that are no longer needed.
  • Wood waste – props and parts of the set that are damaged or broken and made of wood.
  • Sanitary waste – every bathroom in the studio and on site must have sanitary waste bins that are emptied regularly.

Flexible waste management plans 
for movie and TV studios

Running a film or TV production company, studio, and set isn’t a rigid 9 to 5. Shooting schedules vary and no day is the same, so we understand that your waste management requirements will also fluctuate. Putting together a tailored and efficient waste management plan for your waste is important.

Estimate the types and volumes of waste you’ll create and assess the size and accessibility of your site to determine the best bins to use. This can help work out the most efficient bin sizes and types to use and how often you should have them removed.

The likes of food waste will need to be removed regularly to avoid a bad smell and hygiene issues developing. We can offer daily, weekly, and fortnightly collections and ad hoc removals to suit your needs. Include any bulky and one-off removals you may need at the end of a project, so everything is cleared efficiently.

woman being filmed in a library.

Bins for TV and movie sets

Movie and TV sets need various bins to store different waste types and maintain a clean and clear environment. The bins must be the right size to suit the space and store rubbish without overflowing. Some sites may have room for large containers like rear and front end loaders while others rely on wheelie bins.

We can provide free bins of many types and sizes for your permanent movie or TV studio or for when filming on location. There are no rental or delivery fees – you only pay for collection. Explore some common bins used by film and TV production companies:

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  • 240 litre wheelie bins

    The biggest bins you can use to store purely food or glass waste, as well as general waste and other recyclable rubbish.

    small wheelie bin icon
  • 1100 litre wheelie bins

    These are the biggest wheelie bins that can hold large volumes of dry mixed recycling types or general waste.

    wheelie bin.
  • Commercial waste bags

    Enjoy the convenience of storing small amounts and light waste during filming with various bags you can then throw in a bin.


How does film and TV set 
waste collection work?

Process Block

What happens to waste 
from film and TV sets?

Waste from film and TV sets should be separated on site and stored in their own bins, bags, or containers. This reduces the risk of contamination and increases the chance of waste items being recycled, recovered, and reused. They’re then collected by licensed waste carriers who take them to a waste facility for responsible disposal depending on the material:

  • Food waste – lots of waste food goes to industrial composting sites where it’s added to huge compost heaps and breaks down naturally to create nutrient-rich soil that’s used by farms, fruit and vegetable growers. Waste food may also go to anaerobic digestion plants where it’s used to create energy and fertiliser.
  • Costumes, clothing, and textiles – clothes and textiles can be donated and reused if they’re in good condition and recycled. Any textiles and costumes damaged or beyond repair can be recycled through different methods depending on whether they’re made from natural textiles, polyester, or artificial textiles. Often they’re broken down, shredded, and reformed to create new textiles and fabrics.
  • Dry mixed recycling – paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal cans will be separated into their individual material streams and taken to a recycling centre for processing. The waste is checked and sorted then turned into recycled paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal products.
  • Wood waste – wooden props and set design will be taken to a specialist wood recycling facility where they’re separated by grade. Recyclable wood is chipped and screened then used for various purposes including biomass fuel, animal bedding, surfacing, garden mulch, and to form new wood products.
  • General waste – unfortunately, lots of general waste ends up in landfill where it rots and adds to methane emissions and greenhouse gases. We aim to dispose of general waste away from landfill and send it for incineration and to create energy from waste (such as refuse-derived fuel).

How to reduce film and TV waste

Reducing waste across movie and TV sets is important to improve sustainability across the wider film industry. The best way to help the environment and save money on your waste management costs in a TV studio or on a film set is to cut back on how much waste you generate. A few actions you can take to reduce waste across your film or TV sets are to:

  • Run a waste audit – assessing how much and what types of waste you’ll create should be part of any preparation before a shoot. Estimate this across all areas of production to plan for proper storage, removal, and disposal.
  • Build a waste management plan – use results from the waste audit to create a plan of how all rubbish will be stored and removed. This should help identify areas where high volumes of waste are generated as a focus for reducing them. Cover the costs to find ways you can save money too.
  • Avoid single-use items – install a water fountain with reusable cups rather than providing bottled water, use plastic or ceramic plates and cutlery that can be washed and reused rather than paper plates and plastic cutlery, and encourage crew to bring reusable flasks and mugs rather than polystyrene cups.
  • Switch to rechargeable batteries – where possible use rechargeable batteries in cameras, portable devices, and other equipment to minimise battery waste.
  • Implement a clear recycling system – put up clear signs for where bins are and what materials go in each one to encourage recycling on set. Ensure someone oversees the waste and recycling so that bins are removed and emptied on time. Speak to all the cast and crew about recycling at the start of the shoot to instil its importance.
  • Donate items to charity – at the end of a shoot review all costumes, props, set design elements, and leftover food and items. Try to send those that won’t be used for other productions to a local charity or community cause so they can be reused or sold to benefit the charity.
Hollywood film studio.

Arrange waste collection from 
your movie or TV production

Wrap up your film or TV production’s waste in a green and affordable manner with Business Waste. Save money with free bins for any type of rubbish your set or studio creates with no hire or delivery fees – you only pay for collection. A wide range of bins, bags, and containers are available.

Licensed waste carriers remove your refuse, and you receive a free duty of care certificate for peace of mind that everything’s managed and disposed of safely, legally, and responsibly. Select between daily, weekly, fortnightly, and ad hoc collections to suit your shooting schedule and build a cost-effective waste removal plan.

Our nationwide network means we can arrange waste collection from film and TV studios, sets, and locations anywhere in the UK. Get your free tailored quote for waste management services today or speak to one of our friendly experts if you’ve got any questions – call 0800 211 8390 or contact us online.

free bins icon.

Get your free quote

Get a fast FREE quote for your TV and film waste

  • Free quote within 1 hr
  • Any type of waste removal
  • FREE bins and delivery
  • We cover all of the UK