Last weekend I was up at my mother’s house, retrieving the last of my possessions from her garage to move them down to a storage unit in London. For somebody who thought she didn’t have much stuff – and prided herself on the fact – I suddenly seem to have a lot of clobber. Old photo albums, framed college photos, slides, negatives, and press clippings, a set of bowls and plates I’d forgotten I had, a few signed copies of books, miscellaneous gifts, and Dougal the stuffed dog who was given to me on the day I was born. Even though I wouldn’t really miss these things if they were to be destroyed by fire or flood, I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of them.
Then there were the more problematic objects – things for which I have no use, and nor would anybody else, but I can’t bear to see them go into landfill. More and more, I find it incredibly difficult to throw anything away, particularly anything plastic. If it can’t be recycled or reallocated via eBay or Freecycle, I find myself in a real quandary. Now that I know just how persistent plastic is, it seems disrespectful to future generations to leave my plastic detritus for them to deal with.
If you are still able to throw away plastic items without feeling guilty, I want to change that by suggesting you watch one or all of these films. Or, if you are all too aware of the perils of plastic, but you know people who aren’t, encourage them to join you for a movie night. We all need to do what we can to spread the word.
Tapped – why bottled water is bad for your health as well as your wallet
Plastic Shores – an excellent educational film by my friend Ed Scott-Clarke (I’m in it!)
Plastic Planet – Werner Boote investigates the effects of plastic on human health. Look at the expression on his face when the doctor tells him the impact on his sperm count. You can watch the entire film on YouTube.
Plastic Oceans (forthcoming) – to be released in early 2013
I guarantee you that after watching these films, you will never look at plastic – or your garbage – quite the same way again.