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How CBS Drama ‘Evil’ Keeps Its Set Fully Green

No paper scripts or call sheets. Only hybrid cars for transportation to set. Biodegradable eating utensils. The set of Robert and Michelle King’s new fall drama “Evil,” like many of its CBS brethren, is a fully green production, working with sustainability consulting firm Earth Angel to assess the production’s waste levels and ultimately lower its carbon footprint.

The CBS Green Production program, as it’s known, is part of the greater CBS Eye on the Environment corporate sustainability initiative. Water stations are on set in lieu of single-use plastic bottles, and untouched food is donated to food banks or nonprofits. When the production wraps, set decorations and furniture will be given to organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

The decision to participate in such efforts come from the showrunner. “It was really never a question,” says Michelle King, who adds that everybody involved in the production of “Evil” believes recycling and sustainability are “critical.”

The show also has a production assistant who has eco-training, she says, to make sure leftover food gets composted, the appropriate items are recycled and donated, and so on.

CBS-produced “Elementary,” “Madam Secretary,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “The Talk” and “Bull” were all-green in the most recent season.

For the 2019-20 season, the studio’s “Twilight Zone,” “Charmed,” “Nancy Drew,” “The Stand,” “BH90210” and “Evil” join the list.

That’s up from one or two sustainability-conscious productions just a few years ago, starting with “Madam Secretary,” says CBS chief procurement officer Mike Smyklo.

(The Kings’ “The Good Wife” had gone green well before the 2016 launch of the CBS initiative.) While the decision to shrink an on-set carbon footprint is made at the showrunner level — showrunners are presented the option at the start of production — Smyklo says he wouldn’t be surprised if in the future that decision is made at the studio-head level.

It’s a choice that makes financial and environmental sense, he explains. “If you would’ve asked [about financial impact] five years ago, most people would tell you that lowering your waste and your carbon footprint costs money,” says Smyklo. “We find that not to be the case anymore. We can do good and do well at the same time. … We’ve found that cost savings and positive environmental impact can go hand in hand.”

King says there is “zero pushback” from cast and crew. “Everyone is entirely on board for making it a greener set — we’re all aware of what a big company we are, and everyone is interested in doing it better.

“To be able to nudge a company toward being environmentally friendly,” she adds, “is the greatest thing in the world.”

Consulting firm Earth Angel helps “Evil” set up recycling stations on set.
Elizabeth Fisher/CBS
Single-use water bottles are discouraged in favor of reusable bottles filled at water stations.
Elizabeth Fisher/CBS
Trash bags on the “Evil” set are made from compostable corn-based plastic.
Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

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