When production on a movie or TV show is over, the sets are taken apart and the raw materials – chiefly lumber – are often taken to landfills.
Rather than let hundreds of tons of good materials go to waste, Lifecycle Building Center has found a way to make the wood and more available for re-use by homeowners and small developers in the community.
Now its success is showing a new way for the TV and film industry to enrich the lives of ordinary Georgians by helping people improve their homes, organizations and energy efficiency.
The film and TV industry is “feeding the engine that is transforming communities,” says Shannon Goodman, Lifecycle’s executive director.
The non-profit aims to reduce solid waste disposal, promote energy efficiency, and stimulate economic development. It takes materials from existing buildings that can be reused and saves them from the landfill, making them available to be reused in the community.
With the film and TV industry, Lifecycle takes apart movie sets and stages and then recycles the raw materials – chiefly lumber – by selling them at a deep discount to homeowners and contractors.
The public can shop at the 70,000 square foot store five days a week. Pricing is between 50 and 85 percent new material costs.
The organization also gives away supplies to other charities, schools, and religious organizations, and teaches homeowners how to improve energy efficiency and use power tools properly.
Lifecycle, in southwest Atlanta, was formed in 2011 by a small, committed group of people who wanted to recycle building materials.
Within a couple of years, Lifecycle became involved with deconstructing sets and stages of “The Walking Dead” and “Last Vegas.” From that first movie alone, the group recycled 50 tons of wood and other supplies.
Goodman says a quarter of the organization’s donations come from the industry, and up to 15 percent of its sales go back to productions.
Lifecycle also has 11 full-time employees.
They bring in $56,000 in monthly revenues. That’s doubled from 2015’s monthly average.
Lifecycle says it has:
- Saved 3 million pounds of materials from landfills;
- Donated to 110 non-profit organizations;
- Saved people more than $1.6 million in discounted and free materials.
It has deconstructed sets from about 25 productions, and even had its site used for the filming of a handful of others, bringing in more revenue to fund the charity.
“The productions have been important,” Goodman says. “The wood products that come off film sets are so very desirable” by families and small contractors who otherwise couldn’t afford the goods.
Tyler Edgarton’s company owns the facilities where the “Last Vegas” sets were built and then taken apart by Lifecycle’s volunteer crew. He was so impressed, he joined its board of directors.
“Recycling and sustainability are becoming more and more important to the studios,” says Edgarton, of Raulet Property Partners and Mailing Avenue Stageworks. “Lifecycle is a clearinghouse to connect people who have materials with those who need them.
“Just to see this waste – there’s no reason for it to happen. If we’re going to be a part of the film and TV community, we need to be a part of the solution.”
The Lifecycle Building Center warehouse is located at 1116 Murphy Ave. S.W., Atlanta, 30310. Hours are Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This story is presented in cooperation with the Georgia Studio & Infrastructure Alliance. Learn more about the Georgia Studio & Infrastructure Alliance.