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.

Plastic bag world
Plastic bag world

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.

Bag It – started as a movie, now more of a campaign, including educational materials, a blog and a shop

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.


  • Thanks for sharing this, Roz. It’s so crazy how stores throw everything in plastic bags! A pack of gum, a CD, a single t-shirt…it all has to go in a plastic bag that will most likely be thrown out as soon as the customer gets home.  Do you really need to carry your new handbag out to your car…in a bag? Thank goodness we have cities like Toronto that are taking the lead on banning bags

  • Just thinking back over the past few days my small purchases (a wedding card at the pharmacy, a tube of toothpaste at the grocery store, a carton of steamed vegetable at the Chinese take-out) were automatically placed into plastic bags.  My 4th “R” — refuse — is my automatic response.  “Save this for somebody else … I don’t like plastic bags.” Interesting that “refuse” has two meanings … the English language never ceases to amaze …

    Refuse it, Roz. It’s refuse!

  • Drilled a several hundred feet of 2 inch schedule 40 pvc (poly vinyl chloride) so we can use it for irrigation at my friends native plant nursery.  Plastic is everywhere.  I prefer working wood.  Thanks for the links to the movies Roz, will check them out.

  • I can totally relate Roz to the difficulty in purging items to declutter, not only from an emotional standpoint but also the point of not adding to the trash problem. A deep conflict for the eco-hearted. Also, thanks for the movie list looking forward to sharing it!

  • Our laziness actually prompted us to use plastic bags. In older times people used come home from office then take a basket to buy grocery from the market. Now we want to back home taking all things on way to home hence why using very convenient things to carry the articles. In Asia use of plastic bags is so common that people are not ready to avoid it and very proudly pledge to keep using it for their convenience. Hapless government of such countries is unable to convince them because they don’t have a substitute to offer as cheap as the shopper (widely called here)

  • i have been looking for a link for the plastic oceans film as our company that deals with problem waste have a small section in it, do you have any links or want to look at what we do with waste plastics ?

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