Gold may be the coveted color for nominees at the 65th annual Emmy Awards, which CBS will broadcast live from L.A.’s Nokia Theatre on Sept. 22, but behind the scenes the operative color is green. Eco-practices have been in place on the production side for several years now, and producers are always trying to find more ways to conserve and repurpose materials.

“When I first started this, in 2005 or ’06, you had to get people to do it. Now it’s a way of life — the way we live now,” says producer Renato Basile, talking about the comparative ease of introducing new eco-practices today. Back then, and thereafter, he chose recyclable carpeting and paper, and donated all the steel and wood scenic materials when the show was over.

“We try to stay away from materials that can’t be reused. I store a lot of the set pieces and use them on other sets. All the wood is recycled or given away in Mexico for building homes. The floor is kept and I can reuse it. I have stacks of black, shiny melamine I use on the floor. The steps are already built and rented — we just order what we need and put it up,” says Basile.

For the lighting, “some of it is LED. We use a biodiesel generator from Saunders Electric that we’ll turn on two hours before the show. It runs as a backup to the house system, so if anything goes down, we’re covered.”

The production office does its part to keep waste down, adds Basile. “We print schedules and rundowns on two sides. I can’t do scripts that way because they change all the time. But we have bins for all the scripts. Nothing is wasted.”

The Governor’s Ball, the Emmy after-party that is run by a separate company, has a recycling program in place, Basile notes. “They put out recycling bins, and all the utensils are corn-based.”

“The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards,” hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air live at 8 p.m. EST (5 p.m. PST) on CBS.

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Everything's green behind the scenes at this year's Emmy Awards
After the event, all the wood will be recycled or given away in Mexico to be used to build homes.