The confidential destruction of documents, media tapes and film are a big part of our business; as an environmentally conscious company working in partnership with a licensed waste station, we ensure that the recycling we do is to the highest UK environmental standards. So we were intrigued to see a couple of articles recently about the environmental impact of television. Three years worth of data was gathered by the think tank albert+, and the results are really quite astonishing.

First off, did you know that the worldwide ICT industry, of which television is a part, accounts for the same percent of carbon emissions as the aviation industry? We’re all very aware that air miles have a negative impact on the environment, but what about that TV programme that you sit down to watch once a week? So how did one hour of television end up with such an environmental load, and what can we do to help lighten its impact?

Transport is a major factor, particularly with the emergence of cheap flights from and to a myriad of airports. The world has never been so connected and this is showing in the figures. For an hour of television, an average of 18,000 miles is travelled by plane, using up 750 litres of diesel. When filming in the UK, car pooling or using trains instead would significantly reduce this impact.

Electricity (as you would expect) is another incredible amount, with 1800kWh being used in studio power. One solution here would be to look at the lighting in particular, and use the Low Energy Lighting Guide produced by the BBC. Their stats speak for themselves; when fully imposed on one television programme (Casualty) over a four year period, the carbon emissions dropped by a whopping 70%.

Paper may not seem an obvious culprit, but 120 boxes later (the average use for one hour of a programme) and you could well be thinking again. Think about digitising as much as possible, and where that’s not possible, print on both sides of the paper. Every little really does help.

We hope we’ve given you some food for thought. We certainly haven’t looked at television in the same way since! If you work in the industry and would like to complete the survey, you can do so here.

To find out more about how we may be able to help call us on 0203 234 0090 or email