Too much plastic? Bag It!

Several documentaries in recent years have made American consumers rethink the many products they purchase and…well… consume. Outrage over the seemingly irreparable harm imposed upon the planet and our personal health is compelling many to make proactive choices to rid their lives of plastic single-use disposable containers. The film Bag It directed by Suzan Beraza may very well prompt eco-minded consumers to make those changes permanent.

Jeb Berrier (left) with Tom Shadyac and Suzan Beraza at the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride

The movie follows Telluride, Colorado local Jeb Berrier through a worldwide odyssey to explore some of the social, physical and environmental impacts of a planet polluted by plastic. From the ubiquitous throwaway shopping bag to bottled water and phthalate-laced children’s toys Berrier leads a thoughtful journey into the many aspects of our consumer culture that are literally killing us. Apart from finite petroleum resources that are expended to create plastic containers that will contaminate the environment indefinitely, the film reveals a number of harmful chemical compounds that we ingest through the natural course of our everyday lives.

In a comprehensive view of the problem, Bag It shows how plastic has proliferated the world’s oceans, poses health risks to unborn children and can shorten the lifespan of adults. Corporate greed is uncovered as the American Chemistry Council is cast as the film’s villain. Despite repeated attempts by Berrier to provide equal time to share their side of the issue, makers of plastic products declined to be interviewed. But compelling footage shows how the ACC imposes its political weight by dumping over a million dollars to thwart a grassroots campaign to ban plastic bags in Seattle.

Soon to be aired on PBS stations to a national audience this hometown favorite at the 2010 Mountain Film Festival In Telluride is a cautionary tale that warns of a global environmental crisis. But Berrier’s quirky presentation offers just enough humor to lighten the mood of this very heavy topic. Not all doom and gloom, the film makers offer a few ray of hope along with several suggestions for consumers to make small changes in their daily lives that collectively may have a big impact on the planet in the long run. The movie’s take-home-message implies the solution to a world inundated with plastic can be found in the efforts of ordinary people to reduce their use of disposable products, reuse those products as much as possible and finally recycle them safely once they reach the end of their use-life.

Bag It! Is currently in small movie house distribution and will air on National Public Television stations across the country beginning April 18, 2011.

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Author:James

I'm a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

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