If you’re one of the 6.5 million people that tune into Emmerdale on ITV each night then you might already have an inkling that they are ahead of the bunch on sustainability and waste reduction. Background props include an electric van, recycling bins- and don’t expect to receive a plastic straw in the Woolpack or disposable cups in the cafe!

Behind the scenes the Emmerdale production team and ITV itself have been working hard to ingrain sustainability in their day-to-day work. Phil Holdgate (pictured below), Emmerdale’s Project Manager, who is part of the ITV ‘Green Team’ promoting sustainable production techniques, explains.

"We’ve got around 600 people working at the ITV studios in Leeds. The nature of what we do means we are often transient whether in Leeds or at ITV sites nationwide. On Emmerdale we spend around half our time in the studio on Kirkstall Road and the rest on location at our set on the Harewood Estate. This brings its own challenges but one thing we’ve found in terms of encouraging behavioural change is consistency across sites.

"All our recycling bins (not just at Emmerdale but across ITV) follow the same colour coding and labelling making it easier for people to use them no matter where they are.

"We’ve also made big changes in the canteen, moving from plastic to recyclable food containers, single use disposables have been swapped to mugs for tea/coffee and glasses for juice. In the Leeds studio alone we’re saving hundreds of thousands of disposable cups per year from entering the waste stream. An ITV-wide zero-to-landfill waste contract means all our waste is taken off site and sorted. We no longer sell drinks in plastic bottles and our coffee grounds are collected and sent to a local allotment. We get through lots of coffee!

"In our offices, the aim is always to reduce our waste. Where this isn't possible then we use different bins for recycling and to sort the confidential waste generated from scripts and the like. Battery recycling tubs are abundant too."

As well as the ITV Green Team for production, there is a new Social Purpose (formerly corporate responsibility) strategy in development with zero waste and zero carbon ambitions.

Staff are also encouraged to attend a full day Carbon Literacy training course run by BAFTA, which is financially supported by all broadcasters and big producers.

One of the latest initiatives, which came about through one of ITV's  internal sustainable living days, was an increase in cycling by the Emmerdale team, some of whom have now signed for cycle encouragement with Love to Ride.

"We still have a long way to go but we’re certainly moving in the right direction and the Emmerdale team are committed to sustainability and reducing our impact on the planet, as well hopefully setting an example to others who want to do the same."

Report by Suzanne Nicholls. (This article originally appeared on Zero Waste Leeds Facebook.)