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Green move for penguin movie

Packaging for 'Happy Feet' is made from chlorine-free paper, a first for Warner Bros.

March 31, 2007|By Chris Wiebe

BURBANK — Warner Home Video's DVD release of the animated film "Happy Feet" on Tuesday carried a significance that went beyond the routine unveiling of a home movie.

For the first time, the company printed its movie packaging on environment-friendly, chlorine-free paper, which comes from 30% recycled materials.

The move reflects the company's commitment to utilizing renewable materials as a part of its operations, said Ron Sanders, president of Warner Home Video.

The new packaging, which will be used for all Warner Home Video products effective April 1, was the result of continuing company efforts to pursue environment-friendly production methods that also make sense financially for the company, said Isabel Renaud, vice president of production for creative services.

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"As far as the costs, we're obviously not going to do anything that is cost prohibitive," she said.

"There are probably a lot of ways we could cut costs further, but with this, we are doing something that is a bit more environmentally beneficial."

Recent environment-positive strides in the entertainment industry follow years of criticism of studios for past practices that negatively affected the environment, said Jack Kyser, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.'s chief economist.

Studios drew complaints for everything from utilizing diesel trucks during film production to using — and not recycling — wood to build film sets, he said.

"This is something I think you are going to see as more people look at it seriously," he said. "And even if it may not have a huge overall impact, it sends a good position message."

The expense of a new packaging strategy will depend on how the studio chooses to handle production, but is likely to level out over time, he added.

"There might be an additional cost, but over the longer term, once you've got the system up and running, you might find that it was not all that much more expensive than what you were doing originally," he said.

The new packaging will conserve enough power to fuel 404 homes, cut down on the emission of 43.4 million pounds of greenhouse gases and save 53,169 trees every year, a company statement said.

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