Documentary ‘Trashed’ digs into the global garbage situation
When it comes to trash, many people don’t think about what happens after the garbage trucks drive away.
They don’t think about the tons of waste one family, let alone, neighborhoods, counties, states and nations dispose of every day.
They don’t think about where all of it goes, because it doesn’t just go away, said Insa Riepen, executive director of Recycle Utah.
"I tell students during our outreach programs that there is no such planet called Away," Riepen said during an interview with The Park Record. "Although we can’t see it, it’s still with us."
To further explain what happens to our garbage, Recycle Utah will present a screening of the documentary, "Trashed," on Thursday, April 18, at the Jim Santy Auditorium.
The 97-minute film, which is narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons, who also served as the films executive director, examines the trash situation throughout the world.
"Like most of the environmental documentaries that are out there, ‘Trashed’ tends to be a somber film," Riepen said. "Jeremy wants to show us what is happening worldwide, and to do so, he travels to Indonesia, Lebanon, England, the United States and other places."
"It starts off on a beach in Lebanon, and after you see that scene, you may never want to go bathing in the Mediterranean," Riepen said with laugh. "Jeremy looks at incineration. He looks at landfills. He looks at the water and, with that beautiful voice, he talks about the issues that are literally piling up on us."
One of the reasons why Riepen wants to screen the film in Park City is to show local residents how the attitudes about trash differ around the world.
"In the U.S., we have a view of trash as something that gets picked up and either put in a landfill or gets incinerated," she said. "We don’t worry about the dioxin that is created during the incineration process, but the reality is that we should be.
"The film poses the idea that maybe incineration isn’t the answer, and, at the same time, emphasizes that land filling isn’t the answer, nor is pushing trash into the Mediterranean," she said.
"Trashed" also touches on the plastic-to-plankton ratio in the oceans, Riepen said.
"Studies have found there are six parts of plastic to one part of plankton in the waters now," she said. "I mean, what are we doing?"
Another reason Riepen wanted to bring the film to Park City was because the town is a global recreational destination.
"We felt that this film will say to Park City, ‘Look, you’re now an international town and the trash problem is the same all over the world,’" she said. "We need to understand that it’s within our residents to be aware of what happens to our trash, and we need to make the decision to create less trash by recycling more."
Recycle allows the public to recycle 50 different types of items — including skis, snowboards and EPS (expanded polystyrene), Ripen said.
"We want people to look at their garbage and think before they put the bag into a trash can about what they can recycle," she explained. "Most likely, a bulk of the items in the trash bag could be given to Recycle Utah.
"Of course, Park City has curbside recycling, but only three categories of materials can be picked up that way," Riepen said. "Those materials include plastic, metal cans and fiber items, which include paper and cardboard. There are so many other things that can be recycled, so when we screen ‘Trashed’ we will hopefully get people to think about what their trash habits are."
Films help Recycle Utah to fulfill its mission to inspire people to lead sustainable lives, she said.
"Earlier this year, we screened one called ‘The Clean Bin Project,’ which is a documentary from Canada that followed a couple who tried to live waste free for a year," Riepen said. "To follow that up, we were looking for something to showcase during Recycle Utah’s Sustainability Month celebrations.
After researching some possibilities, Riepen decided on "Trashed."
"The unusual thing about this movie is that this will be the first time the documentary will be shown in the Intermountain West," she said. "It has been shown internationally in Europe. And it has been screened in New York. It has been shown in San Francisco, but nothing in between."
Still, it was a challenge to convince the film’s distributor in Europe to line up a screening.
"When we find these documentaries, we purchase them in order to screen them," Riepen explained. "For some reason, it was very difficult to get and deal with the logistics of having the distributors in Britain send it to us by air mail so we can screen it in time."
Locally, things went smoothly to ensure the venue was secured.
"We’ve always worked with Park City and the Park City Film Series in allowing us to screen films in the Santy Auditorium, without whom we could not do this," Riepen said.
In addition to the screening, Recycle Utah will advocate a ban on single-use plastic bags during Thursday’s event.
"I just got back from Europe and at the grocery stores there, no one asks, ‘Paper or plastic?,’ because the shopper is expected to use their own bags," Riepen said. "That’s where we need to be in the United States. If they can ban plastic bags in Ireland and Mozambique, why not in Park City?"
"We have a survey (accessible by visiting http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Z59TKTZ ) and we want people to know they have a voice in this issue," she said. "It’s an important voice and we want them to use it."
Riepen hopes the screening will attract a full house.
"We want as many people to come as possible," she said. "We are asking for a $5 suggested donation, but we want to stress that this is only suggested. It’s not required. So, if people don’t have it, they shouldn’t don’t worry. We just want them to come to the screening."
The screening is open to all ages, including middle-school and high-school students.
"If students attend, we will take attendance and report back to their teachers so they can get extra credit," Riepen said.
Recycle Utah will honor Sustainability Month with a screening of the documentary "Trashed" at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library and Education Center, 1255 Park Ave., on Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. A donation of $5 is suggested. The film, executive produced and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons, examines the garbage situation around the world. For more information, visit http://www.recycleutah.org .
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