Bag It {Friday Film Fest}

Bag It film review

Bag It film review

The Movie Bag It is the first in the Friday Film Fest Series.  I hope you were able to watch it.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I watched Bag It at my computer, streaming it from Netflix.  The documentary style film features Jeb Berrier, who I personally found humorous and lovable!  Even though it is a documentary, it is very entertaining in an educational, eye-opening, jaw dropping way.

The film starts with Jeb trying to reduce his plastic grocery bag use.  He is prompted to look into plastics bags when a near by town challenges his town to see who can reduce their plastic bag use the most.   He goes on a journey delving deeper and deeper into plastics as he realizes they are everywhere!  Along the way, he interviews an amazing array of “plastics experts” – ordinary people turned activist, scientists, and politicians.

His journey leads him to noticed how much plastic there is in the world.  Every time there was a scene from a grocery store, I couldn’t help but noticed that EVERYTHING was wrapped in plastic. There is so much disposable packaging – water bottles, plastic bags, and individual packaging.

I come in contact with it A LOT of single-use disposable packaging.  This is a picture of the granola wrappers Upcycle It! collected in ONE WEEK, from one town with a little over 20,000 residents.  It’s difficult to say how many people contributed to this pile.  But think about it.  How many granola bar wrappers could you go through?  We used to buy them by the case!  I rationed them out and still we ( a family of five) would go through a box of 90 or so bars in a month.  I now make my own.

The film then goes on to question whether plastic is OK for humans.  He learns about the dangerous chemicals contained in plastics – BPA and phthlates.

My stomach turned as I watched the list of ailments and diseases BPA and phthlates have been linked to – allergies, autism, ADHD, diabetes, infertility.  Even in the short time since this film came out, autism has risen again from 1 in 250 (in the film) to 1 in 88 children!  I cringed as I watched that baby put the rubber ducky in her mouth as one of the scientists called it a “phthlate lollipop”.

During the film, Jeb’s partner becomes pregnant.  This “freaks” him out.  What will the plastics do to his child?  Many people are often jolted into action when they start having children.  I was!

When my children were young, I started on the green journey – reducing our waste, switching out single-use items for reusables, reducing plastic.  I even got my mother into the act.  She and I designed and sold reusable snack bags.  We stuck to selling at our local farmers market and craft fairs.  I have many of these and my kids happily used them for years.

But it finally happened.  My 10 year old rolled her eyes at using the reusable snack bag.  “Ugh, why can’t I use a plastic bag?”  She did use the reusable one in the end.  When I dropped her off at dance class, most other kids had a disposable water bottle and a plastic bag with their snack or a single size snack package.  When did plastic become so cool?  Why does my daughter WANT to use a plastic bag? Is it just because most other kids are doing it.  She wants to fit in?  OK, I get that.  I don’t have to like it but I remember being young.  I do!  So how do we make it cool to bring your water bottle and reusable bag.  Maybe over time it happens?  Reusable bottles seem to be more acceptable now.

Back to the film – I was, once again, saddened and angered by the realization that other countries are doing more to protect their citizens against corporate greed than the US.  the film shows a world map with the areas that have already banned plastic bags.  In the U.S., the American Chemistry Council (ACC) is hard at work throwing millions of dollars into campaigns against reducing plastic bag use, protecting the corporations they represent.  The ACC was able to get the California legislature to pass a law to prohibit the charging of fees for plastic bags!  This forced San Francisco to pursue an outright ban instead of a bag fee.  Guess what?  THEY WON!  Of course, this doesn’t happen everywhere.  Efforts were defeated in many other places – out spent by the corporations protecting their precious profits.

What confuses me the most is that these corporations are not faceless entities.  There are people behind the lobbying groups, corporations, their lawyers, etc.  People who, I’m sure, have children.  Does something happen when they walk through the door of their office?

Is this film suitable for children?  For the most part yes.  It might be a little long for them and the final scenes showing the birth of Jeb and Anne’s child might be a little much.  I tried to get my kids (ages 10, 8 and 8) to watch it.  They lasted about 20 minutes, thought is was boring and left the room.  They came back later and watched another 10 mins or so.  While they certainly didn’t get what I got out of it, I know they listened to some of it based on their comments and questions.  I think this is just how it goes with children.  We teach them over and over and over again, and, hopefully, eventually it sinks in.  I’ll try again when they are a bit older.

Not much of the information in this film was news to me.  I thought the way it was presented was excellent.  It might be a lot for the beginner to take in.  Any beginners out there feel this way?

Where do we go from here?

I was inspired by Jeb collecting signatures at the end of the film in support of a plastic bag fee.  Could we do that here in Westford?  Here are a few things I am going to do:

  1. I am participating in National Zero Waste Week 2012.  During the week of Sept 3, people committed to this challenge will try to reduce or recycle ‘One more thing’. This actually started in the UK but has hopped the pond.  Join in with me!
  2. My husband and I get coffee out every Sunday morning.  Up until now, we take the disposable cup from the shop.  Not anymore!
  3. I am going to figure out how to encourage more people to use reusable grocery bags. Just not sure how.  Any suggestions?
What did you think of the film?  
Please leave you comments or if you are a blogger feel free to link up a post.

If you’d like to join the Friday Film Fest, take a look at the complete list of films.
Up next week is Forks Over Knives.


This post is shared at Your Green ResourceMonday ManiaTiny Tip Tuesday and Frugal Days Sustainable Ways.

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15 Responses to Bag It {Friday Film Fest}

  1. HappyMrsBass August 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Sounds like a great documentary… time to add this to my “must watch” list! While, like you said, this information is nothing new… it’s a good reminder to stay “greener” and find new ways to reduce plastic use. I try to remember to snag my re-usable grocery bags when I head out for shopping and I never use disposable water bottles. It really does take conscience effort to reduce the use of plastic. 🙂

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) August 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

      Definitely watch it! When you do, feel free to come back and let us know what you thought. I am usually pretty good about taking my reusable bags, but we went blueberry picking yesterday and I totally forgot! It happens, but I’ll keep at it.

  2. Jenny K August 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    This is something I definitely want to watch but don’t have Netflix right now. I’ll put it on my list though!

  3. articles August 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Sounds like a great film! Thanks for the review.

    Talk with your local stores about giving a small discount for each reusable bag a customer uses. I shop at several stores that give 5c or 10c off per bag. Target stores do this but do not promote it–maybe talking to the store will get them to put up a sign; if not, look for opportunities to mention it to everyone!

    Another thing I talk up is the superiority of cloth bags: They hold more; they are less likely to rip; you can carry them on your shoulder.

    If you are involved with any organization that is making a promo item to give away, encourage them to make it a cloth tote bag.

  4. Sarah @ made in usa challenge August 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    I haven’t seen the film but am currently involved with an effort to ban single-use plastic bags in my city:
    If you are looking for more information about issues with plastics, I recommend Beth Terry’s book, My Plastic Free Life. She is trying to go 100% plastic free,
    Reusable bags are the way to go!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) August 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Good for you!!!!! I would love to get a plastic bag ban or fees or something going here. Beth Terry’s book is amazing! I read it recently. Her recommendation along with a fan of my FB page convinced me this was a must see film.

  5. SkYLan August 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Love this post. Shared it & pinned it. We can always do more.. even if it’s something small. And baby steps os what it takes. Part of the baby step process is blog articles like this one. It needs to be spread. We need more Viral Environmentalism!

  6. Stacey August 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this, I will be watching it for sure. I have been overly aware of all the plastic waste that we have in our daily lives, and have taken certain steps to reduce this in my life. I am far from perfect on this front, but step by step I am reducing more and more plastic from my life. One of the biggest steps we can take is to start with re-usable shopping bags!


    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) August 19, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      I love reusable shopping bags. I take them everywhere. My daughter and I were shopping yesterday for clothing and I had one. So much easier and more comfortable than the bags they give, beyond the fact that we saved several bags in the process. One clerk actually noticed and commented that it was a good idea.

  7. Small Footprints August 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Thank you for your review of this movie. I haven’t seen it yet but hope to. I particularly like that your kids watched some of it and came back, periodically, for a bit more. And even better that they had questions. Perhaps a movie like this isn’t going to “grab” them but if they watch for a little bit and it inspires them to think and ask … then perfect! I also really admire you for seeing areas in the movie where you can make a change. Brilliant!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) August 19, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      Thanks. Yes they did listen and got something out of it. When my daughter and I returned home from shopping the other day, she commented that we saved about 5 bags by bringing our own! So it is sinking in. Those little comments make me keep going.

  8. Sarah @ Natures Nurture August 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Looking forward to watching this! Thanks for sharing this review at Tiny Tip Tuesday!

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