Saving the planet on set at a time

Earth Day may only be an annual event, but a pragmatic idealist named Grant Heggie recycles movie sets year-round - and he manages to save film productions some coin in the process.

Earth Day may only be an annual event, but a pragmatic idealist named Grant Heggie recycles movie sets year-round – and he manages to save film productions some coin in the process.

Unloading one’s set can be costly by the kilo, so Heggie offers a clean-conscience alternative that also earns him a modest living.

‘The main idea is to make sure that [film] sets aren’t put into landfill,’ he says of his website, which functions much like a green hybrid of Craigslist.

Launched in January, ReadySetRecycle.com is an online-only service with a mission of ‘greening the industry.’ Ironically, it too was recycled out of his now-defunct Set/Reset, an operation with costly warehouse space.

‘When we had Set/Reset, we would bring a transport truck to the area where the film had been shot,’ Heggie explains. ‘We would have to take everything apart, put it on the truck, bring it to our warehouse, take everything off and store it. You’re talking about a lot of wear and tear. Now we can sell everything for a film company right from where it is.’

The defunct company had a monthly overhead of $65,000, while ‘ReadySetRecycle costs us $1,000′ per month, he says.

Heggie is a former lighting director who worked in theaters (as varied as Toronto’s Royal Alex and the now-defunct Poor Alex), and he recalls going to film sets in the early ’90s.

‘Back then, I was in awe about how much we create on set,’ Heggie explains, ‘but I was also appalled at how much we were willing to dispose of and waste.’

Today the ReadySetRecycle website offers free listings – of 10 items or less – and charges for listings for wrap sales. Another Heggie company, The Octopus Works, will take photos, list and upload multiple items for sale.

A look through the site tells why ReadySetRecycle is proving to be an instant hit with the filmmaking community in Toronto. Where else can you buy a fully functional 1950s diner – admittedly one-sided. Or two authentic bamboo gazebos from China? Or a set that replicates a Guantanamo cell block – price negotiable?

The site started slowly but picked up steam in February and March with approximately 10,000 hits per month. Heggie is hoping that banner ads will eventually make the site profitable. It also has listings in L.A. and New York.

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