The Plastic Problem

Over 9 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced since 1950. Where has it all gone? In the documentary "The Plastic Problem", the PBS NewsHour explores the scourge of plastic remnants in our oceans and lakes, their points of origin, and their ultimate impact to the health of both sea life and humans.

Our addiction to plastics is understandable. They have revolutionized everything from consumer goods to medical care. Their convenience and durability have transformed us into a disposable society.

The global recycling rate has reduced to just 9% in recent years. The production of fresh plastic waste continues to rise with no signs of dissipation. The film explores how the current system of recycling has not adequately impacted the crisis. Meanwhile, incineration could fill the environment with dangerous chemical pollution.

Utilizing the expertise of various ecologists and conservationists, "The Plastic Problem" diagnoses the worldwide crisis of plastic consumption and points the way to possible solutions.

Director(s): Lorna Baldwin
Script: Lorna Baldwin, Amna Nawaz
Production: Lorna Baldwin, PBS Newshour, Emily Carpeaux, Rachel Wellford
Music: Quinton Hooper
Actors: Amna Nawaz, Ana Maria Gutierrez, Helen Pheasey, Chelsea Rochman, Roland Geyer, Meera Singh, Greg Cooper, Marc Galardi, Ravel Cech, Mahathir Mohamad
Year: 2020
Duration: 55 min
Our age recommendation: 12
Language (audio): English
Country of origin: United States
Shooting Locations: Canada, United States, Costa Rica, United Kingdom
Screening rights: PBS Newshour ()
  • This film can be watched for free at the top.


Main topic(s): Upcycling, Recycling + Waste
Secondary topics: toxins innovation plastic recycling sufficiency
Mentions: plastic microplastic problem global recycling waste solutions health sustainability innovation compostable ecosystem ocean waste fish pollution combustion air pollution
Topic Page(s): Upcycling, Recycling + Waste

Host a Screening

Film Tips

Other Films