Segments in this Video

Introduction: Plastic Wars (02:15)


A video of a sea turtle that has been pierced by a straw goes viral. Natural gas is driving down the cost of making plastic.

Sorting Plants (05:16)

Far West Recycling separates paper, metals, and plastics. Soda bottles and milk jugs make money; clamshells, Ziploc bags, film, and food wrappers are difficult and costly to recycle. Rogue Disposal's landfill takes about 100 loads of trash a day.

History of Plastic (07:11)

Hagley Library contains one of the world's largest collections of industrial history. An ad campaign focuses on the public's role in polluting the environment. Amoco, Chevron, Dow, and Exxon executives create the Council for Solid Waste Solutions to find a solution.

Promoting Plastic (07:22)

Consumers believe that all types of plastic are recycled. Lobbyists convince states to pass laws that all plastics receive the recycle icon. The plastic industry wants products to appear more environmental; recycling is not economically viable.

GDB International (02:42)

Sunil Bagaria is national chairman of the plastics division for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. Store hangers are one time use objects. China stops taking polystyrene, PET, PVC, and polypropylene in 2018.

Indonesian Plastic Industry (08:02)

Bagaria checks on a factory to ensure the plastic is recycled into tiny pellets. Customs officials discover that half of the containers have contaminated trash that cannot be recycled. Yuyun Ismawati describes how companies dump and burn plastics in fields; New Harvestindo International denies culpability.

Creating Awareness (04:21)

Plastic bans spread across America. Jim Becker from Chevron Phillips explains how substitute products can have a bigger environmental impact. The American Chemistry Council set a goal of getting all plastic waste out of landfills by 2040.

Garten Foundation of Salem (02:39)

The American Chemistry Council introduces a new $1 million plastic sorting system. Will Posegate describes how his company sold a similar model for scrap; it was not economically viable 25 years ago.

Advertising Propaganda (03:57)

Ads encourage people to recycle and tout the virtues of plastic. Industry reports state that recycling costs are more than creating new plastic products. Developing new materials is the plastic makers' responsibility.

What Do People Do? (02:30)

Sort recyclables and do your part. Producers need to disclose the environmental impacts of their materials, including toxic emissions, carbon footprints, and water usage. Environmentalists discuss their naivety about recycling as a solution.

America Recycles: Innovation Fair (05:00)

The Environmental Protection Agency hosts companies that promote products with the recyclable logo. The world is reaching ecological limits; the climate cannot sustain oil and gas drilling. The United Nations estimates there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.

Credits: Plastic Wars (01:02)

Credits: Plastic Wars

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Plastic Wars

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Did the plastic industry use recycling to sell more plastic? With the industry expanding like never before and the crisis of ocean pollution growing, FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the fight over the future of plastics.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL215300

Copyright date: ©2020

Closed Captioned

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