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The Story of Plastic: An Industry Exposé

The Story of Plastic is a feature length, documentary film, by Deia Schlosberg released in 2019 by The Story of Stuff Project. An eye opening watch, it reveals ‘the ugly truth of the plastics industry and the false solution of plastic recycling’, presenting us with the only answer: turning off the plastic tap.

We hear from journalists, activists, recycling companies, members of the ‘break free from plastic’ movement and communities on the front lines. Through their first-hand experiences, we learn of the impossible task of managing plastic waste, the varied health impacts of plastic production, and the false narrative pushed by the fossil fuel industry.

But we are also offered hope. We meet countless individuals and organisations, each fighting for the earth and its people.

Oil drilling, Story of Plastic film still

Turning Waste into Profit

Our villains are quickly established within the opening scenes. Doomsday footage of huge islands of ocean plastic is cut with crackly infomercials from the plastics companies themselves, going back generations. When an industry head announces ‘new an.d better things for all’ the irony isn’t lost on us.

The companies that make plastic are the same ones that sell us fossil fuels: Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Dow Dupont. It started out as a waste product: one that fossil fuels companies could either pay to dispose of or make into something profitable. This by-product of petroleum was made into plastic: a ‘miracle’ material that doesn’t break down

Marketing single use plastic

Their next step was to market plastic to people, selling the idea of a simpler, more hygienic, throwaway lifestyle. Glass, tin, ceramics and paper packaging were thrown out in favour of cheaper plastic alternatives – replacing our circular economy with more profitable single use plastics.

Problems at Every Stage of the Plastic Life Cycle

Whose Fault is Plastic Pollution?

Why Recycling isn’t the Answer

How to Turn off the Plastic Tap


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