Addicted to Plastic
Reveals the history and worldwide scope of plastics pollution, investigates its toxicity and explores solutions.
Directed by Ian Connacher
Produced by Cryptic Moth Productions
Camera: Ian Connacher, Gad Reichman
Music Supervision: Oliver Johnson courtesy of the Hive
Editors: Martyn Iannece, Gad Reichman, Kevin Rollins
From styrofoam cups to artificial organs, plastics are perhaps the most ubiquitous and versatile material ever invented. No invention in the past 100 years has had more influence and presence than synthetics. But such progress has had a cost.
"A sobering must-see and needs to be shown at every educational level globally!" Dr. James M. Cervino, Visiting Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Department of Marine Chemistry
For better and for worse, no ecosystem or segment of human activity has escaped the shrink-wrapped grasp of plastic. Addicted To Plastic is a global journey to investigate what we really know about the material of a thousand uses and why there's so darn much of it. On the way we discover a toxic legacy, and the men and women dedicated to cleaning it up.
Addicted To Plastic is a point-of-view style documentary that encompasses three years of filming in 12 countries on 5 continents, including two trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean where plastic debris accumulates. The film details plastic's path over the last 100 years and provides a wealth of expert interviews on practical and cutting edge solutions to recycling, toxicity and biodegradability. These solutions - which include plastic made from plants - will provide viewers with a new perspective about our future with plastic.
Note about Short Version "The shorter version uses a third-person perspective on plastic, without the filmmaker acting as tour guide. The shorter version also excludes the chapter on toxic ingredients in plastic because the section was the easiest to cut as it veered away from the disposability issue of plastic waste. Issues of marine debris, recycling, and bioplastics remain identical to the longer version." Ian Connacher, filmmaker
Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2008
Copyright Date: 2007
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-795-7
VHS ISBN: 1-59458-794-9
"For anyone who's wondered what eventually happens to all the plastic in water bottles, packaging, and hundreds of other everyday uses, the feature-length documentary Addicted to Plastic offers a visually compelling, entertaining, ultimately frightening explanation...Candid interviews, especially a particularly revealing one with a representative of the industry's American Plastics Council, permit viewers to form their own opinions. Connacher's on-screen presence as a curious, energized hipster on a plastic road trip lends immediacy to his narrative and enables him to filter complex information and hypotheses into a manageable form that will provoke viewers without confusing them. All in all, Addicted to Plastic is an absorbing, shocking, only partially reassuring odyssey."
Jeffrey L. Meikle, Professor, American Studies, University of Texas
at Austin, Author, American Plastic: A Cultural History
"Addicted to Plastic was a wake-up call for me as a marine scientist. This film presents the viewers with a grim, realistic look at how the food chain is being affected due to plastic confetti invading nearly every square centimeter on earth. This documentary is a sort of eco-horror movie, detailing how persistent plastics sprinkled throughout the ocean and land carry chemical compounds up the food chain and onto our dinner plates. The word 'bioaccumulation' truly strikes home in a frightening and understandable way after viewing this film. Addicted to Plastic is a sobering must-see and needs to be shown at every educational level globally!"
Dr. James M. Cervino, Assistant Professor, Biology and Health Sciences, Pace University, Visiting Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Department of Marine Chemistry
"Addicted to Plastic is a journey of discovery of what happens to the various plastics we use and what we can do about them. The documentary is riveting, disturbing, and even sometimes comforting. Everyone should see this important film."
Reah Janise Kauffman, Vice President, Earth Policy Institute
"Thought provoking and eye opening...Each segment is more revealing and provocative than the one before it."
"This film really made me aware of the plastic that is all around me. That awareness is a good thing for a film to convey, and a difficult thing as well. I would recommend this film for general college courses in biology, chemistry and ecology. For anthropology courses it is best applied to global issues with some framing of the petrochemical and plastics explosions that have been part of globalization. The health ramifications of the plastics would also be of note to audience interested in environmental issues affecting urban populations. The film is really a remarkable piece of work. The issue is of importance and is undeniable in its ubiquity. The parts of the world that are not already addicted to plastic are bound to be in our lifetimes. The ecological issues with plastic will remain long past our lifetimes."
Troy Belford, Wichita State University, Anthropology Review Database
"Not merely a diatribe against overconsumption and littering, the program surveys how plastic is used, disposed of, and recycled into usable materials. A company in Texas makes railroad ties from melted plastic, and a Georgia carpet manufacturer creates new flooring from waste materials. In India and Africa, plastic bags are turned into handcrafted treasures. Plant-based renewable bioplastics are also discussed. Interviews with scientists, environmentalists, and developers on new ways to recycle and use plastics accent the accessible coverage...[Addicted to Plastic] offers much to ponder."
"Science, social science, and journalism classes can utilize this program for study and for debate. An essential addition for environmental collections."
School Library Journal
"A great, well-made film for all ages, that should help people think twice about their plastic habit."
"Vividly describes the dangers of plastics pollution without promoting bitterness and resentment. All viewers, whether plastics producers or plastic consumers, can feel hope for the future by the time the credit rolls...Highly recommended for middle-school through adult viewers."
Carrie M. Macfarlane, Middlebury College, Educational Media Reviews Online
"The thing that sets Addicted to Plastic apart from many other scary documentaries is that Connacher goes looking for workable solutions. Even before remarking, 'So, what's the answer?' his film has highlighted numerous individuals and companies that have developed creative remedies to the problem of plastic."
"Militant without being moralist, teaching without being tedious, this documentary suggests possible answers."
The New Observer
The DVD includes two versions of the film: the full 85-minute version and a shorter 52-minute version as well as scene selection and links to a list of web resources.
The filmmaker's web site
Awards and Festivals
Nationwide Broadcast on "The Green", Sundance Channel
Audience Award, Special Jury Award, Amazonas Film Festival, Manaus, Brazil
Golden Sun Award, Best International Documentary, FICMA, Barcelona International Environmental Film Festival
Runner Up, Environmental Film Audience Award, and Finalist, Overall Audience Award, Vancouver International Film Festival
Coup de Coeur Award, Festival International du Film d'Environnement, Paris
Best Medium Length Documentary, Ecofilms Team Award, Rodos International Films + Visual Arts Festival
International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (IDFA)
Milano Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Planet In Focus International Environmental Film & Video Festival
Green Film Festival, Seoul
DOCSDF: Mexico City International Film Festival
Palm Springs International Film Festival
Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival
Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
Princeton Environmental Film Festival
Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival
Lincoln Center Green Screens
Taos Mountain Film Festival
Far North Conservation Film Festival
RioFest Environmental Film Festival
CinemAmbiente Environmental Film Festival, Turin
Projecting Change Film Festival
Greenbuild International Film Festival
Kansas International Film Festival
Festival de Cine Ambiental Voces, Colombia
Oceans and Coasts
Angela Sun reveals the effects of our rabid plastic consumption as she investigates The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
An unflinching examination of the big business of bottled water.
Filmmakers Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold use humor and chutzpah in their search for the environmental truth about vinyl.
Explores the relationship between breast cancer and exposure to toxic chemicals.
Swim for the River
The story of the Hudson, and the battle to save it, are told as Chris Swain swims the entire length of the river.
Looks at the failure of our current sewage disposal system and presents alternatives.
The Return of the Cuyahoga
The story of the death and rebirth of one of America's most emblematic waterways.
Up Close and Toxic
Examines the alarming levels of pollutants inside our homes and suggests ways to reduce them.
In Our Own Backyard
First brush the U.S. had with toxic waste at Love Canal.
Scientists and religious leaders meet to find the solution to the Black Sea in crisis.