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Review: Addicted to Plastic

This Magazine Staff

Plastic is everywhere. It sounds like hyperbole but take a look around you right now and you’ll quickly realize how true that statement is. Then think of the items you’ve bought in the last month and all the plastic packaging you discarded. Now think about this: there is no way to organically breakdown plastic.

It’s a scary thought but seeing it is horrifying. It is this imagery that haunts you after viewing the film: the ocean is a plastic soup; tons of garbage washes ashore hiding otherwise beautiful beaches daily; and every piece of plastic ever thrown away has survived in some form somewhere (except for the small percentage that has been incinerated).
Ian Connacher’s documentary is thought provoking and eye opening. He explores the history of plastic and how it came to dominate our lives. He exposes our society as one with a throwaway culture. He gives witness to warnings that have been whispered in our ears for years. He speaks to men and women who are investigating the effects of plastic on the environment and our health. And each segment is more revealing and provocative than the one before it.
But Connacher also gives viewers solutions and hope that we will not drown in a sea of plastic. While traveling the world, he showcases entrepreneurs who are re-purposing plastic to sell in the marketplace. They make railway ties, purses, fabric, clothes and other products that sell internationally. Others are manufacturing bio-plastic from corn and other naturally occurring elements as a biodegradable alternative. And more simply, there are groups dedicated to physically cleaning up the beaches and the oceans.
Connacher tackles a lot of scientific and complex concepts but to his credit, he always ensures comprehension by repeating it in layman’s terms. Ultimately, he strikes an ideal balance between threat and hope.
The Planet in Focus International Environmental Film & Video Festival runs October 22 through October 26 in Toronto. Over 100 outstanding and compelling films and videos – documentaries and dramatic, animated, and experimental works of all lengths – created by Canadian and international filmmakers on key environmental themes will be screened at the Royal Cinema, Gardiner Museum, The Bata Shoe Museum, Innis College and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Panels, workshops, youth, student and children’s programs are also offered. Visit www.planetinfocus.org for full details.

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