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Reflecting on the Story of Plastic event – By Swetha Upadrasta

by May 2, 2022 0

Today, people worldwide deal with the issue that more than half of all plastic ever made has been produced in the last 13 years, and only 2 percent of all plastic in the world is effectively recycled. The Meaningful Movies Project aims to educate viewers on the global pollution catastrophe by describing the societal and corporate pressures to produce plastic and by depicting the drawbacks of our reliance on plastic products.

The Story of Plastic, a film by Deia Schlosberg, explores the gap in coverage of where plastic comes from and investigates the manipulated narrative around the plastic infrastructure that has taken root in many countries. This film describes how many corporations refuse to take accountability for their actions regarding the pollution crisis and instead shift the blame and spread the perspective that other parts of the world have inadequate waste management systems. Companies ship plastic abroad to various places worldwide, such as the Ghazipur Landfill in India, Karnes County in Texas, Manila, Philippines, etc., where it is incinerated, leading to toxins being released into communities. A healthy environment is a fundamental human right; instead, local people in these areas face the burden of being left to deal with significant health implications. This includes respiratory problems, skin rashes, cancer, and a shorter life expectancy. A Story of Plastic also discusses how the fossil fuel industry is connected to the production of plastic in the economy.

Episcopal Church of Western Washington Meaningful Movies; Mt Baker Meaningful Movies; West Seattle Meaningful Movies; First Church Meaningful Movies; Beacon Hill Meaningful Movies; Beacon Arts; Port Townsend Meaningful Movies, Kirkland Meaningful Movies, ECWW Climate Justice Task Force hosted a community discussion on Earth Day, April 22, led by panelists Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, who works as Policy and Partnerships Manager for Firelands Workers Action/Acción de Trabajadores, Brigid Normand, who is the facilitator for Circles of Hope and Resilience, and Heather Trim who is the Executive Director for Zero Waste Washington. Ms. Trim explained the actions that are being done to solve the plastic crisis at the state/local level in Washington, which included a 2020 state ban on thin plastic bags and packaged bundles of single-use plastic items. Additionally, 80 waste bills have been passed, and the Plastic-free Washington coalition continues to pursue its goals of reducing unnecessary plastics and building markets to restore the recycling system. Ms. Normand describes how individuals should build communities to share resources and take action together in order to change the story of plastic. Mr. Schromen-Wawrin explains how there needs to be a shift in the legal system to combat environmental injustice issues. Additionally, there was a discussion about the harmfulness of incineration and how the best thing we can do for our environment is not to buy and regulate the consumerism of plastic materials. 

The most significant step you can take to combat this critical issue is to educate yourself, friends, and family. Please take a look at the resources below to see how you can make a change within your personal life and community.


Pledge to make plastic a thing of the past!

The world has a plastic problem. We make, use, and throw away millions of tons of it every year, causing big problems for people and the planet. To create a future without plastic pollution, we need to take action to get disposable plastic out of our lives and out of our communities.Feeling up to the task? Take the Plastic Free Challenge for a month of Citizen Muscle actions to combat plastic pollution.  Sign up here:

Each week for the next month, The Story of Stuff Project will send you an email with tips and challenges to get disposable plastic out of your life and out of your community. You’ll get suggestions for avoiding plastic waste in your daily life, ideas to reduce plastic in your community at large, and Citizen Muscle action opportunities to fight plastic pollution globally. 





Circle of Hopes and Resilience  are free and open to the public and offer an opportunity to come together with others in deep listening and shared intention to create a place of safety and support. In the safe space of the circle, you are invited to explore how you are feeling in these times of crisis, and with the support of the circle to connect to your deepest self and emerge with a new understanding about your path forward. In community, uncover seeds of hope and resilience that lie within, or create new ones. Sign up here to learn more:


Host a screening of Story of Plastic. Screening rights are free for grassroots community groups who want to educate their communities about this issue. Here is the host a screening form:

Do a Brand Audit. A brand audit is like a litter cleanup – but in addition to picking up trash from a beach, park, or other public area, participants audit the products, materials and brands that are ending up in the environment. Together with our partners in the #breakfreefromplastic movement, this data will help us hold companies accountable for their waste.

Your brand audit can be big or small: a solo activity, or a public event with lots of volunteers. Either way, you’ll be taking part in a global movement that’s shining a light on the true culprits of plastic pollution. This global data set informs and supports campaigns from The Story of Stuff Project and the #breakfreefromplastic movement, and is already fundamentally transforming the conversation around plastic waste in the environment.  Download the guide: Learn more about what’s involved in organizing a brand audit by checking out our organizer’s guide with everything you need.  Submit your data: Once you’ve collected your data, add it to the global #breakfreefromplastic dataset.  Questions? Email if you’d like to learn more.


Protecting Our National Parks: The tons of single-use plastic sold across eighty million acres of land managed by the National Parks Service is not compatible with environmental stewardship. We know that plastics, which break down into ever smaller particles, have reached the most remote wildernesses on the planet and are wreaking havoc on living ecosystems. Our National Parks are not immune from these forces. It’s time to take a stand against the sale of unnecessary single-use plastics in our National Parks. 

Please sign to call for the removal of single-use plastic beverage bottles, bags, and foodware, and polystyrene products.

Urge your member of Congress: co-sponsor the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act!

Until the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, the US plastics industry was losing ground. Bans on plastic packaging were spreading like wildfire across municipalities and state capitals, reflecting a growing consensus against a material tainted in the public mind. Then the pandemic struck. As communities across the nation hunkered down at home, the plastics industry drew battle plans to exploit the crisis.  At the core of their disinformation campaign, the industry exaggerated the risks of transmitting the virus through contact with surfaces in order to prize open new markets for single-use plastics, re-brand their products around safety and lobby for essential worker exemptions to the social distancing guidelines unavailable to the thousands of small businesses struggling for survival. Across the plastic supply chain, the industry has won environmental rollbacks with deadly consequences, it’s fighting for a tax-payer funded bailout in its drive to lock in a massive expansion of plastic production over the next decade. It’s time to launch a fightback and push for a just transition. 

Sign here:     Watch this video to learn more:

By Meaningful Movies Project High School Intern, Swetha Upadrasta

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