Documentary introduces idea of eco-friendly plastic products

Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, a plastic milk jug is floating around, waiting to be the unfortunate food choice for a marine animal.

While many environmentalists blame the irresponsibility of other people for the plastic waste in the ocean and the environment, according to Ian Connacher, filmmaker of the documentary “Addicted to Plastic,” plastic-making companies are to blame.

The documentary “Addicted to Plastic” centers around Ian Connacher and his worldwide travels to expose what the world knows about plastic.

The documentary unfolds in a point-of-view style that encompasses three years of filming in 12 countries on five continents, including two trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where plastic debris accumulates.

Specifically, the documentary details the 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.

In the documentary, filmmaker Connacher explores the world on his boat, titled the “Captain Montra.” The boat comes equipped with several large nets designed to catch plastic debris as it sails along the ocean.

In the documentary, various experts say that the plastic to plankton ratio in the Pacific Ocean is 10 to 1, specifically, 10 pieces of plastic to every 1 plankton.

Connacher stresses on the point that instead of blaming everyday consumers for being irresponsible with their plastics after they no longer have use for them, he introduces the idea that plastic manufacturers making companies should instead create products that are more eco-friendly.

In the documentary, one plastic manufacturer designed bio-degradable containers for their snacks in order to reduce their carbon footprint. The containers are literally biodegradable – they dissolve after direct contact with water for a particular period of time.

The company’s reasoning for the creation of the biodegradable plastic is so that if its products were to ever end up in the ocean or in a place where they certainly didn’t belong, they would eventually degrade without doing any damage to the environment, or ending up in a landfill like most plastic products that aren’t bio-degradable.

The documentary, sponsored by the Gannon Goes Green committee, was played in the Zurn Science Center Tuesday and explores what plastic really does for our environment and how it affects us.

Kari Izibicki, a senior chemistry major, said she was surprised by what she saw in the documentary.

“It really opened my eyes and showed me how much plastic I actually use in a day,” she said. “I actually feel pretty bad about how much plastic I use, now that I think about it.”

Izibicki also said that she was very intrigued by the idea of biodegradable plastic goods.

“I think it’s a great idea, and something that I never would have thought of before,” she said. “I’d be really interested to see if everyday biodegradable plastic products become an everyday thing.”

At the end of the documentary, Connacher sends a simple message to his audience: “We as consumers have done nothing wrong.”

While he believes that plastic-making companies should be responsible for the wasted plastic in the environment, he also suggests that consumers should be more open to reducing their carbon footprint and doing their part to become more of environmentalists.

“Addicted to Plastic” is a documentary that explores  the impact of plastic products in our everyday lives and the environment, as well as how we as individuals can become more pro-active in our efforts to be more responsible with the environment in our lives.

JANAE BUTLER

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