Environmental Report for The River Why
Who This Environmental Report is a report of Peloton Productions and their narrative feature film, The River Why.
The film was primarily shot in Portland, Oregon during the summer of 2008.
It was implemented to investigate and implement green practices on set and identify was in which waste management and water systems could be implemented on rural locations.

This green program was initiated by the producer of the film who wanted to make a commitment towards sustainable production practices.
Throughout the project, Peloton Productions granted Reel Green Media consultants access to key departments, shooting locations, waste management monitoring and water management.
The outcomes of the green filmmaking program are detailed in this report.


The green program concentrated all departments with an emphasis on water systems and recycling management.
The departments were monitored to establish their key waste streams and waste management practices; of which detailed figures can be found within this report.
Improvements for reducing, reusing and recycling waste types and quantities were recommended and wherever possible waste management costs were determined.

Results During the production of The River Why,  there was approximately a daily 40-50% diversion rate of solid waste.
This differed on days when composting was present but recycling included—paper, aluminum cans, bottles, plastic, foil and cardboard.
Costs Overall the cost for recycling in the Portland, Oregon area is about $10/per dumpster. In Oregon, there is a policy about hauling organic waste and the cost.
In order to compost, you need to hire a private hauling company (different from the recycling haulers) to come and pick up your recycling.
This results in higher costs. With regards to cost savings, with the elimination of bottled water, the production saved approximately $2,000.
Other fiscal choices, such as gas budget and travel could have been reduced by location proximity. This would have been advantage to the production and to the environment.
Conclusion Peloton Productions achieved a significant diversion rate considering the locations and minimal prep time for the production.
Most staff was supportive of the initiatives, however, there were some members of the staff who were in vocal opposition of the efforts being made.
This made it difficult to align the commitments and gain full support of the crew. Throughout the course of the film, some individuals became supportive.
Additionally,  many individuals who were in support of the nature of the project came up with their own solutions and suggestions.


The River Why was managed and produced by Peloton Productions, based out of Marin County, California.
Shot on location in Portland, Oregon, the filming took place in areas surrounding Portland, the Wilson River and neighboring communities from June 2008 through July 2008, and was based in the centrally located Hillsboro, OR for the duration of the project, while the production moved to various locations.

The River Why was a small sized production of approximately 100 people incorporating small crews, cast, extras and other resources including Location & Unit Crews, Production Office, Transport and Logistics, Special Effects, Art and Construction and Catering Services.

Below is a break down by department with regards to the environmental choices that were made on set:

Camped and stayed on site when possible as did other departments
Used Latex Paint
Used On-Location Materials
Used Chemical-Free Paints & Solvents
Very little painting on set
Reused Brushes
Used Canvas Drop Clothes
BYUTAL was used
Avoided Spray Paints
Used Water-based glues
During building, flies and poles super glue was used
Used rechargeable tools and electric tools
Used rechargeable weed wacker
9 volt batteries for laterns, too expensive to buy rechargeable
Donated and sold leftover material
Recycled as much material as possible
Donated to ReBuild Center
Second-hand foam and lumber
Ensured proper ventilation and safety procedures at all times in construction spaces.
All cutting was outside
During wrap of a scene there was a separating of materials according to recycling categories.
No paint was bought
Offered product placement discount to green products to be featured on set.
Had “funkins” shipped from Los Angeles over real pumpkins from China, financial savings!
Shopped at local stores. Local antique stores, Really Good Stuff, Salvation Army, Re-run
Rented props from local fly fishing shops
Used existing books and rented books
Used Craiglist to facilitate renting and purchasing
Emailed for option photos instead of printing
Set up a website for prop-show-and-tell instead of printing photos
With the use of reuseable water bottles, we saved over 6,000 WATER BOTTLES from being used. All members were issued with reuseable Camelback water bottles.
The Green Consultants of Reel Green Media, assisted with water and waste management system
Serve local/organic food from Costco, TJ, Safeway and New Seasons
  • 1/6 of budget went to Trader Joes, 2/3 Costco, Safeway and New Seasons, local for ice
  • Serve organic/free trade/local coffee (Starbucks-donated), Sometown Local Coffee, and San Francisco
    Educated crews about where their food comes from when asked
  • Berries from California or Washington
  • At the end of the day, share leftovers
  • One day there was old food that was then tossed in compost bins
  • Reused serving platters rather than buying plastic setups and tossing them.
  • Platters were made of Monkey Pawed Wood
  • Used plates, utensils, napkins, mugs and cups that were either biodegradable or recyclable
  • However, due to cost of private hauling company and regulations about composting could only fully compost one day of production.
    Used Private Lands
    Provided a cabin for shooting to avoid building a set, this saved on natural resources being used for construction, however, this increased the distance driven between locations; much of crew camped on location
    Attained proper state parks permits for state lands. This scene was shot on the last day.
    Advised crews on safe and environmental paths when shooting on location. (the Wilson River)
    Marching orders to find best locations within time and budget restrictions.
    Locations reported that “When I scouted the Wilson River, was under the impression that there was an airport shuttle transporting crew.”
    However, this did not happen, however, many crew members did camp on site for Lee’s Cabin and others carpooled from Portland or Hillsboro
    With Reel Green Media, Locations established a transportable waste management system that was clearly labeled and marked.
    Encouraged shuttle/carpool options for cast and crew between their homes and set and between crew parking at set.
    Placed paper recycling bins at each desk
    Separated into recycling and dumpster parties outside
    Encouraged employees to reduce paper usage - by reading documents on the computer, printing double-sided (when possible) or on the backside of used paper, and decreasing paper margins.
    Used toner saver mode
    Purchased paper with post-consumer recycled content when possible.
    Few reams at 100%, most at 30%
    100% was twice the price
    30% was slightly more expensive than virgin paper
    Lots of paper from previous productions “Twilight” and “Without a Paddle”
    Binders, file folders, and envelopes and other supplies from previous productions and from Good Will.
    Worked off laptops primarily. Employees shut off computers, monitors, and peripheral equipment such as speakers at the end of the day or when not in use for more than an hour.
    First office had lots of windows and therefore rarely turned on the lights, so had fans and would open windows.
    Second office, had lights off for most of the day. Typically turned on lights around 5pm.
    Recycled ink and toner cartridges.
    Replaced light bulbs to incandescent in first office.
    All lights turned off at the end of night
    Tried to buy paper in Bulk (saves money and shipping)
    Printed double sided
    Some individuals printed emails for legal documents
    Tried to make mini-scripts but ended up being very expensive and difficult to use!!
    Reused boxes and used them for Mailing Materials
    Encouraged Online Communication
    Reasonably successful, but it got harder and harder as production picked up. Therefore as speed and population increases green initiatives were harder to achieve.
    Used fuel additive (Lucas Environmentally Friendly Solutions) to increase fuel efficiency
    Used Biodiesel 15% in diesel engines
    Many departments carpools and used bikes (foldable) on set to reduce transportation runs.
    Used filmless and digital cameras: THE RED, to decrease film use and chemical use in development

    Thank you for your commitment towards a cleaner film.

    Yours for a greener industry,
    Lauren Selman
    President & Founder,
    Reel Green Media, LLC
    (510) 604-2617