Don’t Plastic Bag It: An Unlikely Environmentalist’s Journey


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By Courtney Hayden
June 9, 2012

Whether you appreciate statistical evidence and financial reasoning or just want to engage with an average American on his journey away from plastic, Bag It is worth a view. This documentary takes a fresh approach to environmental education. Its light and witty tone keeps the viewer intrigued and laughing, but the film still does justice to a serious environmental problem.

The film starts with Jeb Berrier, a balding, gentle-mannered, soon-to-be father who lives in Chicago. Berrier emphasizes that he is not a tree-hugger. His adventure into sustainability begins when he uses a single-use plastic bag to bring an individual container of peach yogurt home from the grocery store. Soon after, his hometown in Colorado is challenged by a neighboring town to determine which could furthest reduce its plastic bag use. Within days, Jeb is asking himself: what exactly does “single-use” mean?

Answers take him around the world, from pubs in Ireland to Main Street shops in England. The conclusion he reaches is simple but revolutionary: single-use plastic bags are marketed to be used once, but made of materials that will last forever. They may be “gone” from his home, but they are clogging drains, polluting oceans, filling landfills, and littering American streets. Across the globe their use is being banned, but in America powerful organizations are pouring money and resources into preserving their use.

Bag It also shows Berrier’s struggle to remove plastic bags from his family’s life. Director Suzan Beraza effectively brings to light the alarming health impacts of exposure to the chemicals in plastics, and the distressing effects of plastics in oceans.

Sierra Club Green Home recommends watching Bag It as a fun way to inspire you to phase plastics out of your daily life!

 

For related articles, see:
Time to Bag the Bags
Plastic Bags: On Their Way Out?

Sundance Film Festival Highlights Best-In-Class Green Docs

 

© 2012 SCGH, LLC.

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