Garbage documentary review

While You Were Sleeping have organised another documentary screening at the Labia. This documentary looks at the issue of waste and is called Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home.

It’s a simple and endearing documentary with a powerful and scary message. The producer, Andrew Nisker, decides to get his friend’s family to keep all their garbage for 3 months. The purpose is to try and get a better idea of exactly how much garbage a family of 5 produces. At the same time he does some investigation into what happens to the garbage when it gets taken away. He visits landfill sites and recycling operations, as well as interviewing relevant experts.

He doesn’t stop there, but also investigates the other ways his friend’s family pollutes. He looks at the pollution caused by their cars, by the electricity they use, by the detergents they use, etc. It’s is amazing how much pollution an average suburban family is responsible for (the documentary was made in Canada).

But the scariest parts of the film reveal how much pollution finds its way into rivers and the air we breathe. Tests show that every single person has varying levels of around 50 toxic pollutants in their system. No wonder cancer and other diseases are on the increase.

When it comes to recycling, it’s important that people realise that just because something is recycleable, doesn’t mean it will be recycled. Even if it does get recycled, the process involves much energy and harmful chemicals. That is why the slogan is Reduce, Re-use, Recycle as that is the order of preference.

The danger in focusing on recycling, is the same as the danger in focusing on carbon offsetting. They both give people the impression that we can carry on living our lives the way we do now, if we just recycle and offset. This is not true, we cannot continue to consume at the rate we do. Whether we recycle and offset or not, we will destroy the earth unless we make some radical changes. Read more of my thoughts on this here.

This documentary is interesting and manages to bring across the themes in a fairly light hearted way. While it is based in Canada, the issues are still relevant to us here in South Africa. As usual, the discussion afterwards was very interesting. The documentary is showing tonight and tomorrow night (17th & 18th August ’09) so go check it out if you can.

Labia on Kloof, call 021 424 5927 to book.


4 responses to “Garbage documentary review”

  1. Great documentary with some humorouos moments.It really woke me up to what I consume/use /pollute. It was shockingly sad to see the state of the rivers, hear about what happens to birds and fish living in those ecosystems and eventually how it affects our own bodies. Do go and see this doc – its not all doomsday and it will definitely make you think.

  2. Thanks for the great review. Any chance of offering these movies in Johannesburg as well? I’m happy to make calls to get the ball started here?

    1. @BJP, I’ve passed your details on to While You Were Sleeping, they will let you know if that’s possible.

  3. What a great documentary. Easy watching, well structured and easy to understand. The family are funny and endearing too.

    I really wish documentaries like this would go ‘mainstream’ and be shown alongside “The Hangover” on the big screen. Maybe we can change the name to somethink sexy and lure the masses? The unfortunate reality is that this documentary was being watched by the already converted. Generally, the people in the audience were in the ‘green’ industry or already passionate about being green. We need to generate awareness in the people who are totally oblivious to the consequences of their actions. Not an easy task but am happy to take up the challenge 🙂