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:
- 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!
- My husband and I get coffee out every Sunday morning. Up until now, we take the disposable cup from the shop. Not anymore!
- I am going to figure out how to encourage more people to use reusable grocery bags. Just not sure how. Any suggestions?
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.